Synopses & Reviews
A remarkable debut by one of America's premier young reporters on financial corruption, Casey Michel's American Kleptocracy offers the first explosive investigation into how the United States of America built the largest illicit offshore finance system the world has ever known.
An indefatigable young American journalist who has virtually cornered the international kleptocracy beat on the US end of the black aquifer.
— The Los Angeles Review of Books
For years, one country has acted as the greatest offshore haven in the world, attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in illicit finance tied directly to corrupt regimes, extremist networks, and the worst the world has to offer. But it hasn't been the sand-splattered Caribbean islands, or even traditional financial secrecy havens like Switzerland or Panama, that have come to dominate the offshoring world. Instead, the country profiting the most also happens to be the one that still claims to be the moral leader of the free world, and the one that claims to be leading the fight against the crooked and the corrupt: the USA.
American Kleptocracy examines just how the United States' implosion into a center of global offshoring took place: how states like Delaware and Nevada perfected the art of the anonymous shell company, and how post-9/11 reformers watched their success usher in a new flood of illicit finance directly into the U.S.; how African despots and post-Soviet oligarchs came to dominate American coastlines, American industries, and entire cities and small towns across the American Midwest; how Nazi-era lobbyists birthed an entire industry of spin-men whitewashing trans-national crooks and despots, and how dirty money has now begun infiltrating America's universities and think tanks and cultural centers; and how those on the front-line are trying to restore America's legacy of anti-corruption leadership — and finally end this reign of American kleptocracy.
“Clearly-written, compelling and fast-paced...a clarion call for citizens and those at all levels of government who have not yet realized that we need to clean up our own act to protect ourselves from predatory adversaries.” Fiona Hill, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
“Michel's diligent dissection is...a capable, eye-opening account of laissez faire financial laws and practices that serve the interest of criminals alone.” Kirkus Reviews
“Michel's clear prose helps make a complicated subject comprehensible, and leaves readers with some hope that financial corruption may not be so inevitable after all.” Booklist
“[Michel] is a masterful storyteller who grips readers with truthful and disturbing accounts of outlandish schemes....eye-opening and comprehensive.” Library Journal
“Casey Michel brings home the extent to which the United States has fueled money laundering, corruption, and other crimes plaguing the world. His passionate writing comes from his outrage at what has gone on in our own backyard and his understanding of what is at stake, namely trillions of dollars hidden from our national treasury with help from U.S. banks. Readers will learn why it is critical for Americans to look inward and do more to stop the abuses here at home that are helping to power illicit finance around the world.”
Senator Carl Levin
“Remarkable and well-researched....Casey Michel shows how the US has taken the top spot at the ease of doing illicit business legally.” Katharina Pistor, author of Code of Capital
Watch the Powell’s virtual event with Casey Michel and Alexander S. Vindman!
About the Author
Casey Michel is a writer and journalist based in New York City. His writings on offshoring, kleptocracy, and financial secrecy have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vox, The New Republic, and POLITICO Magazine, among others. He is an Adjunct Fellow for the Hudson Institute's Kleptocracy Initiative, and has contributed research pertaining to offshoring, illicit finance, and foreign interference to the German Marshall Fund, the Human Rights Foundation, and others. He received his Master's degree in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Columbia University's Harriman Institute, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Kazakhstan. American Kleptocracy is his first book.