Book Review: Oliver Bullough ~ Moneyland: Why thieves and crooks now rule the world and how to take it back (2018)

There is an investigative book. Like all investigative books it offers revelations, which alter our perception of the foundations of society itself. Misha Glenny’s McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime (2008) is the grand-father of the genre. His book is now so mainstream that it’s been turned into a TV series. His book is investigative journalism at its very best. Moneyland is also excellent.

The Panama Papers scandal, 2015, leaked 11.5 million secret financial documents to serious newspapers around the world- The Guardian in Britain. Suddenly the ultra-rich were, not so much in the light, as in a sort of twilight: but visible! The Panama papers showed the scale of a parallel global economy and the corruption that oiled the wheels. Moneyland joins the dots and gives us a fuller discussion of that 5 minute news item.

Bullough startles his readers by beginning his book with a visit to 2 Woodberry Grove, Finchley.1 Amazingly ex-Trump advisor Paul Manafort used this location as a hub for his illegal Ukrainian deals which eventually caused Trump so much grief.2 Britain’s lax financial sector is the place to go if you have hot money and want to launder it through property or ‘Hear no evil, See no evil’ investments.

…Somalia [is] the most corrupt country in the world” on some measures but … “Italian mafia expert Roberto Saviano3 can label Britain the most corrupt country in the world. The first assessment is based on where the bribes are paid, and the second assessment is based on where those bribes are laundered.”

If you like thrillers and want intellectual content then the investigative book is the place to go. There is a familiar format and a very high level of writing with well sourced content. This is important because not everyone likes even twilight. Saviano, for example, has been under police protection for the last 13 years.

1 p1ff
2 Actually it didn’t because Trump is Teflon man and nothing sticks to him
3 p129 Saviano wrote a brilliant book on organised crime in Naples. Gomorrah (2006) is a vital read in this context.

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