Politicians Who Don’t Want to Disclose How They Got Their Cash Do This
Criminals are forced to launder money if they want to use it for normal activities. Politicians must launder money they receive from illegal sources in the same way.
Never in the history of mankind have governments controlled so much money. The US Senate recently passed a spending bill of $1.7 trillion. Vast quantities of money are being sent to Ukraine by western governments to fund the war against Russia. Budgets in western countries regularly suck up 50% of GDP or more.
Everyone knows that a lot of these resources are completely wasted and mis-spent. There are almost no controls on how it’s spent. What we can be sure of is that those who are politically connected gain most from this spending.
But how are politicians rewarded for the favours they hand out? Let’s look at some of the ways politicians receive their ill gotten gains without fear of being caught with their hands in the till.
What Does Launder Money Mean?
To launder money means that money that comes from an illicit source is disguised to make it look legitimate. It could be a drug dealer receiving cash and then investing that cash in legitimate businesses such as bars or shops. He’s then able to bank cash as if it’s been received from the legitimate business. A corrupt politician may not receive cash but they still must find ways to launder money to disguise its source.
Speaking Engagements and Book Deals After They Leave Office
Boris Johnson resigned last year as British Prime Minister. He immediately launched himself onto the speaking circuit. He reportedly receives $250,000 for each 30 minute speech he gives at corporate events. It’s difficult to see the commercial justification for this or what value it brings. It’s often speculated that these speaking fees are rewards for favours done while in office.
Book deals after leaving office come into the same category. Often minor politicians receive multi-million dollar advances on book deals. There is no commercial justification for these.
Many politicians have set up family trusts. They are so-called blind trusts. They’re supposed to be managed by others with no participation from the politically connected person. It’s not unheard of for a high ranking politician to receive founder’s shares in up and coming companies in their blind trusts. This is a common method used to launder money obtained in return for dishing out favours.
Inheritance from a Distant Relative
This is an old favourite used to launder money. The politician who can’t receive money directly arranges for a distant relative to receive the money in an offshore trust or foundation. When the distant relative dies, the money is inherited by the family of the politician. It’s almost impossible to question this due to the time passed and the fact that it’s a distant enough relative. The corrupt politician has plausible deniability as the money never belongs to him. It’s unlikely ever to be investigated or come to the attention of anyone.
Old Fashioned Cash and Gold
In Europe police recently raided the homes of corrupt politicians who were accused of taking bribes to say positive things about Qatar in the lead up to the World Cup. Police found boxes filled with euros as well as gold and diamonds in the homes of politicians. It just shows that they’re still taking bribes in good old fashioned cash.
It is never a good move to keep your ill gotten gains in your own home, though. Best to find a non-bank location far away from your home. These politicians were so blatant they made no attempt to launder money received from corrupt activities or even to hide it.
The wife of a Ukrainian politician was recently stopped crossing the border to Hungary with $28m in cash. Wars and defence spending are the single most profitable activity for politicians and their friends. It’s likely that large amounts of money being sent to Ukraine by western governments is being stolen by corrupt politicians.
Stocks and Options that Can’t Lose
Hillary Clinton famously made money trading cattle futures. Nancy Pelosi’s husband is a better stock picker than Warren Buffet. Making sure a politician or his friends make money in a trading account is a method of getting money to them that can’t be questioned. A friendly broker opens 2 accounts in the name of the politician or their close connection. They do opposite trades in each account. The politician keeps the winning account. The losing account is written off. Often options are traded in those accounts because of the leverage they offer.
Donations to Charitable Foundations
Everyone has heard of The Clinton Foundation. Starting a charity is perhaps the best way for a politician to collect on the favours he granted while in office. After all, who’s going to question a charitable donation. Nobody can own a charity. The funds are held on behalf of good causes. But the person who has control the charity controls all the money in it.
It can be spent on expenses. It can be invested in private companies. The money can then be taken out of the private companies and go directly to family members of the politician. The charity can also buy assets like houses, cars and artwork. A charity can be set up to do all this while giving almost nothing to good causes.
Charitable foundations can be very useful tools. Not just for politicians to launder their ill gotten gains Every wealthy family should have one.