American Monetary Association

Jason Hartman invites Casey Michel, author and investigative journalist, to speak about his new book which uncovers how the US has created the greatest money laundering scheme in history.

South Dakota has pioneered an entire industry of what they call anonymous trusts. South Dakota has taken this to a magnitude we've never seen by creating perpetual anonymity for these trusts. The information of those in the trust will never be shared with governments, with other jurisdictions, tax authorities, investigators, which is why we've seen both Americans and non Americans flocking to South Dakota. $900 billion is the top line estimate in South Dakota, but it's still a question of how many total assets are actually there, who those assets are connected to and what those assets are actually doing after they pass through all the anonymity that the state of South Dakota freely offers.

Casey Michel’s book also talks about illicit foreign money purchasing steel mills, factories and manufacturing plants in places like Cleveland, Ohio, the Rust Belt and the Midwest. They're not revitalizing local communities and bringing jobs back, but rather using those assets to hold and hide funds, using them as part of a broader transnational money laundering scheme. And so what ends up happening is that not only do the jobs never come back, the folks who have the remaining jobs are just laid off, the factories begin falling apart and it’s clear they are never going to come back. These local communities in places such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and Illinois are seeing their economic crown jewels go to complete rot because of this system of kleptocracy.

Towards the end of the broader Cold War period, one could see a sudden surge in the creation of financial secrecy pools and broader economic structuring that incentivized the outflow of illicit suspect wealth from post communist states. These states are linked directly to rising oligarchies and dictatorships that are smothering local populations, looting national treasuries, and making sure bridges, roads, hospitals and schools are never built. And then beyond that, there is no broader free market economy that actually develops in those countries.

0:29 Welcome Casey Michel, writer and investigative journalist, author of AMERICAN KLEPTOCRACY: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History

1:10 What is a kleptocracy?

3:03 Kleptocracy is now a transnational phenomenon, closely intertwined with the broader offshoring economy

4:19 The World Summit

6:42 Incentivizing the outflow of suspect wealth from post communist states

8:00 Creating easy access to transnational financial flows

9:47 Private wealth located in global financial secrecy jurisdictions

11:49 The beneficiaries of dynastic wealth have flocked to places within the US

15:21 For every $1 that is given in foreign aid, $3 of untracked, illicit capital leaves those developing countries

16:34 Anti money laundering regulations across a number of industries except the real estate industry

18:27 Billions of illicit foreign money flowing into London real estate

19:14 Broader transnational money laundering scheme in local US communities

21:46 The offshoring world is comparable to a superpower such as the US or China

23:38 The sad state of the media today

25:54 Casey Michel's first book AMERICAN KLEPTOCRACY: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History is out now from St. Martin’s Press

26:51 Who are the world's biggest money laundering offenders?

28:56 Digital assets, art and money laundering

31:07 Learn more at



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