Oliver Bullough ‘s “Moneyland” – book review

I bought this book on a whim and I don’t regret it. Oliver Bullough is an investigative reporter, who is on the financial trail Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs left in London. What he discovers is a different world, accessible only to the rich – “moneyland”. A world in which companies hide behind companies, registered in offshore havens such as Nevis, Jersey, and Liechtenstein. A world in which anonymity is accessible for the rich, no questions asked: Citibank, HSBC… the list of complicit banks goes on…

Bullough’s narrative is compelling: each chapter tackles a different aspect of the problem. From the crazy mansion of Ukraine’s ex-president to the excesses of an Angolan politician’s daughter on “Say Yes to the Dress”, he reveals the exploitation of the world’s poorest that is often the source of the money.

Unsurprisingly, though the subtitle of the book suggests that Bullough will outline the solutions to the offshore problem (‘how to take it back’, it is hard to come up with any satisfying ideas: beyond tighter co-operation between nations (and in the era of Brexit and Trump, this seems highly unlikely), there isn’t that much we can do to stop the oligarchs from concealing and spending their money… This book is definitely worth a read.

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