Advocacy group Global Witness went undercover to expose how insanely easy it is to move dirty money into the United States through anonymous companies. They sent an actor representing an African minister to 13 different law firms trying to gain advice on laundering millions in cash into the US. What they filmed is very revealing; a rat’s nest of elite/crony legalism in big law firms, and a disturbing willingness to give advice on how to unethically circumvent existing laws that seek to prevent money laundering.
The article may be viewed here.
Global Witness is an international NGO founded in 1993 who seeks to end “the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses” which are “driven by…corruption in the global political and economic system.” They envision a world “where corruption is challenged and accountability prevails, all can thrive within the planet’s boundaries, and governments act in the public interest.” Sounds like some freakin great people.
Global Witness’ undercover investigator posed as an advisor to an African minister of mines who wanted to bring millions of dollars of suspect funds into the U.S. He met with lawyers from 13 New York City law firms. The meetings were all preliminary; none of the law firms took our investigator on as a client, moved the funds, or broke the law.
A number, including James Silkenat, indicated that they would need to carry out more checks before they could take on our investigator as a client. Mr. Silkenat also said that he had to make sure that no crimes had been committed and, if so, he would have to report them. Nonetheless, all but one of the lawyers we visited discussed suggestions on how to move the funds.
To understand these interview clips in context, it is important to view the recordings of the full interviews and read our report.