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AML 2024: books, podcasts and experts

08 January, 2024

If 2024 is the year you sink your teeth into some really good financial crime content, we have just the list for you!

We've done the legwork of reading and listening to many financial crime (audio)books and podcasts (and there's a lot!), and have narrowed down the ones you should get into. Let's go!

AML books to read.*

1. Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency

Author: Andy Greenberg

Tracers in the Dark is a story of crime and pursuit unlike any other. With unprecedented access to the major players in federal law enforcement and private industry, veteran cybersecurity reporter Andy Greenberg tells an astonishing saga of criminal empires built and destroyed. 

Utterly of our time, Tracers in the Dark is a cat-and-mouse story and a tale of a technological one-upmanship. Filled with canny maneuvering and shocking twists, it answers a provocative question: How would some of the world’s most brazen criminals behave if they were sure they could never get caught?

2. Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath

Author: Bill Browder

Bill Browder returns with another gripping thriller chronicling how he became Vladimir Putin’s number one enemy by exposing Putin’s campaign to steal and launder hundreds of billions of dollars and kill anyone who stands in his way.

At once a financial caper, an international adventure, and a passionate plea for justice, Freezing Order is a stirring morality tale about how one man can take on one of the most ruthless villains in the world—and win.

3. Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back

Author: By Oliver Bullough

Join the investigative journalist Oliver Bullough on a journey into Moneyland - the secret country of the lawless, stateless superrich.

Learn how the institutions of Europe and the United States have become money-laundering operations, undermining the foundations of Western stability. Discover the true cost of being open for business no matter how corrupt and dangerous the customer. Meet the kleptocrats. Meet their awful children. And find out how heroic activists around the world are fighting back.

4. The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money

Author: Bastian Obermayer & Frederik Obermaier

Late one evening, investigative journalist Bastian Obermayer receives an anonymous message offering him access to secret data. Through encrypted channels, he then receives documents revealing how the president of Argentina has sequestered millions of dollars of state money for private use. This is just the beginning.

Panama Papers is an intense, unputdownable account that proves, once and for all, that there exists a small elite living by a different set of rules and blows their secret world wide open.

5. Butler to the World: How Britain Helps the World's Worst People Launder Money, Commit Crimes, and Get Away with Anything

Author: Oliver Bullough

Butler to the World reveals how the UK took up its position at the elbow of the worst people on Earth: the oligarchs, kleptocrats and gangsters. We pride ourselves on values of fair play and the rule of law, but few countries do more to frustrate global anti- corruption efforts. We are now a nation of Jeeveses, snobbish enablers for rich halfwits of considerably less charm than Bertie Wooster. It doesn’t have to be that way.

6. American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World's Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History

Author: Casey Michel

American Kleptocracy will examine 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.

It will also look at how Trump’s presidency accelerated all of the trends already on hand—and how the Biden administration can, and should, act on this inheritance.

7. The Lucky Laundry. How the Aussie Economy got Hooked on the World's Dirtiest Cash

Author: Nathan Lynch

Australia is awash with dirty money. It flows through our economy, keeps banks running, powers big business, puts coffee on restaurant tables, seeps into clubs, pubs, sport, the art world and anywhere that value is moved.

In The Lucky Laundry, financial crime expert Nathan Lynch delves deep inside this hidden world to explain how dark money has infected the lives of ordinary people - and tainted Australian democracy. He opens the curtain on the hidden world of financial intelligence, where crooks and spooks play a cat-and-mouse game inside the world's black money markets.

8. Too Big to Jail: Inside HSBC, the Mexican Drug Cartels and the Greatest Banking Scandal of the Century

Author: Chris Blackhurst

From journalist Chris Blackhurst, Too Big to Jail unveils how HSBC facilitated mass money laundering schemes for brutal drug kingpins and rogue nations – and thereby helped to grow one of the deadliest drugs empires the world has ever seen.

Too Big to Jail is an extraordinary story, brilliantly told by writer, commentator and former editor of The Independent , Chris Blackhurst, that starts in Hong Kong and ranges across London, Washington, the Cayman Islands and Mexico, where HSBC saw the opportunity to become the largest bank in the world, and El Chapo seized the chance to fuel his murderous empire by laundering his drug proceeds through the bank. It brings together an extraordinary cast of politicians, bankers, drug dealers, FBI officers and whistle-blowers, and asks what price does greed have? Whose job is it to police global finance? And why did not a single person go to prison for facilitating the murderous expansion of a global drug empire?

9. Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World

Author: Tom Burgis

In this shocking, meticulously reported work of narrative nonfiction, an award-winning investigative journalist exposes “capitalism’s monster”—global kleptocracy—and reveals how it is corrupting the world around us.

In this real-life thriller packed with jaw-dropping revelations, award-winning investigative journalist Tom Burgis weaves together four stories that reveal a terrifying global web of corruption: the troublemaker from Basingstoke who stumbles on the secrets of a Swiss bank, the ex-Soviet billionaire constructing a private empire, the righteous Canadian lawyer with a mysterious client, and the Brooklyn crook protected by the CIA.

10. Living Your Best Compliance Life: 65 Hacks and Cheat Codes to Level Up Your Compliance Program

Author: Mary Shirley

Whether you're a Chief Compliance Officer, team lead or individual contributor, this book is packed with forward-thinking hacks and ideas to improve the effectiveness of your ethics and compliance programme to build a stronger, winning function, honouring psychological safety.

This manifesto for Living Your Best Compliance Life contains carefully curated tips and takeaways for optimum impact and immediate action, at low or no investment. The author also provides detailed instructions while also coaching you to ask the right questions of yourself, and colleagues, to succeed.

11. The War on Dirty Money

Author: Nicholas Gilmour and Tristram Hicks

Billions of dollars are wasted each year trying to prevent ‘dirty money’ entering a financial system that is already awash with it. The authors challenge the global approach, arguing that complacency, self-interest and misunderstanding have now created long-standing absurdities. International and government policy makers inadvertently facilitate tax evasion, corruption, environmental and organised crime by separating crime from its root cause.

The handful of crime-fighters that do exist are starved of resources whilst an army of compliance box-tickers are prevented from truly helping. The authors provide a toolbox of evidence-based solutions to help the frontline tackle financial crime.

*All book summaries provided by Goodreads.com.

AML podcasts worth a listen.

1. Great women in compliance

Originally started to "shine a light on the amazing and inspirational women who have helped the compliance profession develop and those who are making a difference every day." It's morphed into something more; "a community that gets insight from women (and people supporting women) who share experiences and knowledge with one another."

2. The Dark Money Files

Self-described as "a series of podcasts which explain to a non-technical audience how "Dark Money" (e.g. money laundering, corruption, bribery, tax evasion) enters the financial system and infects everything it touches." But that doesn't do it justice.

These reviews better capture the podcast's essence:
"They are knowledgeable and straightforward in their presentation. The mixture of serious content and witty humour is refreshing."

"Graham and Ray are real pros digging into fascinating substance with clear expertise and integrity. This mix of private sector insight and social welfare considerations is invaluable to hear." 

3. AML talk show

This series of audio interviews shares conversations with fellow members of the global AML community, each with unique stories to tell about their experiences in the fight against financial crime.

4. ACAMS Sanctions Space

The Sanctions Space Podcast brings you the stories behind the sanctions. Join Dr. Justine Walker and her guests as they discuss long-term trends, share anecdotes and the lessons they’ve learnt from them, and explain how past threads can influence current events.

5. Suspicious Transactions Reports

Host Tom Keatinge and team interview top thinkers and influential voices, unpacking the complex world of money laundering, corruption, sanctions evasion and illicit flows. They go further by explaining how this shapes the evolving global security landscape, and what democracies and international institutions must do to stay ahead when it comes to the financial dimensions of the global threat outlook.

AML experts to follow.

In case you missed it, the list of 'Top Influential Professionals in the AML Industry' was released late 2023. And here are some additional experts well worth following:

1. Jessica Davis

Jessica is the President and Principal Consultant at Insight Threat Intelligence. She has special expertise in terrorist & illicit financing, indicators of terrorist activity, women in terrorism, & intelligence analysis. 

2. Samantha Sheen

Samantha is a financial crime prevention professional with over fifteen years of practical experience in compliance. Sam is a regulator speaker, moderator and writer on various topics related to financial crime with a focus on tactics used by illicit actors to launder the proceeds of crime. Sam most recently worked with ACAMS Europe as its inaugural AML Director and was instrumental in the development of training content and raising awareness around financial crime prevention challenges in Europe.

3. Dr. Nicholas Gilmour

A published scholar and former New Zealand FIU senior advisor and experienced law enforcement professional with significant knowledge of risk-based supervision and developing policies for the supervision of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs).

4.  Amy Bell

The AML juggernaut behind consulting firm Teal Compliance, Chair of the UK Law Society's Money Laundering Task Force, author of 'Solicitors and Money Laundering' and 'Compliance That Works' and the mind behind the UK Law Society's Anti-Bribery Toolkit and AML Training Courses. Amy also has two decades of experience working in the legal world as both a solicitor and compliance consultant.

5. Alison Jimenez

AML expert witness retained in US federal and state court, arbitration, criminal, and regulatory enforcement actions. Economist with expertise in designing and building innovative analytics for compliance, regulatory and litigation issues impacting financial services. Former securities regulator.

 

We hope you enjoy the lot!


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