Digital technology and facilitating corruption

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the relationship between digital technology and contemporary finance, including the vast off-shore facets of its existence and the shadow markets which (as I understand them) traverse onshore and offshore, even breaking down the distinction between the two. An interesting example of this concerns the logistical challenge involved in creating the byzantine corporate structures upon which these mechanisms depend, with ever more sophisticated methods made available to ever less sophisticated companies as one of Oliver Bullough’s interviewees puts its on pg 87 of Moneyland. As Bullough goes on to write on pg 88, “the speed and cheapness of modern communications have made creating these companies ever easier, with devastating results for the law enforcement agencies trying to investigate them”. Only a couple of decades ago, “if a crook wanted a Pacific shell company, they had to go to the Pacific to get it. Now, they can get it online from their living room” (pg 87). It’s easy to pass over this quickly as a contingent detail but I think there’s something extremely significant to dwell on here.

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