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Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,484 ratings  ·  393 reviews
"The most eye-opening book that you'll read all year... A must read for anyone who wants to understand how the real world of wealth works." —Inc.

From ruined towns on the edge of Siberia, to Bond-villain lairs in London and Manhattan, something has gone wrong. Kleptocracies, governments run by corrupt leaders that prosper at the expense of their people, are on the rise.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by St. Martin's Press (first published September 6th 2018)
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Julia This isn't so much about the Bill Gates and Marc Zuckerbergs of the world, but about the plutocrats who steal money from the countries they work in/fo…moreThis isn't so much about the Bill Gates and Marc Zuckerbergs of the world, but about the plutocrats who steal money from the countries they work in/for and then hide it abroad, to avoid taxes or getting caught or (in some cases) having to share with a divorced spouse. It's very good, I urge you to read it. (less)

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Maru Kun
This book is quite outstanding and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I say this from the perspective of a qualified accountant who spent thirty odd years working in financial services dealing with the nuts and bolts of the issues this book discusses.

Here are some of its strengths:

It does a great job of filling a gap in the picture of how inequality is growing and undermining civil society. There are books that address the economic side of this process such as Capital in the Twenty-First Centu
D.  St. Germain
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back, Oliver Bullough sets out to illuminate the means and methods First World tax dodgers and Third World kleptocrats use to hide their businesses and wealth from the rest of us.

Moneyland is a place, he argues, where those with assets can buy passports wherever they like, and apply the laws where they are most advantageous to their businesses. It is a virtual space with “American privacy, Panamanian shell companies, Jer
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This nonfiction writing is so thorough that after I borrowed it from the library, I purchased the hard copy for my permanent collection. 10 of 10 stars
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
Moneyland is a global community of the extremely wealthy and their agents who move and hide money and assets around the world to evade laws, taxes, creditors, spouses, and prying eyes. They use many different mechanisms: Open a secret bank accounts in Cyprus or Nevis, money launder through real estate in London or New York, purchase your real estate or yacht and hide your assets with a labyrinth of shell companies from the Seychelles or Estonia, establish a trust that allows you to use your mone ...more
Bruce Beckham
This book is a ‘how to’ manual for would-be kleptocrats and budding tax avoiders. At an early stage, you get the feeling there will be no happy ending. This is essentially because you know that the world’s super-rich continue to plunder their compatriots and abuse their power. They have their yachts, penthouses and private jets strategically scattered about the globe. Chapter upon chapter explains how they do it, aided and abetted by ‘law abiding’ accountants and financiers, and ‘law abiding’ na ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bullough has spent much time in researching this book and it did not disappoint. He chronicled the rise of Moneyland where some stole, hid and then spent money, outside the jurisdiction of all countries.

1. Bretton Woods: system in place to control hot money
2. Eurodollar: American dollars deposited in London which is not under the control of any jurisdiction.
3. Eurobond: Warburg & Fraser issued them in Schiphol Airport in Holland, interest paid in Luxembourg, but listed in London. Borrower was
Loring Wirbel
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Between the relatively melodramatic title of this book and the fact that the author begins with mad leaps from Paul Manafort in the Ukraine to Malaysia and on to the emirates, one might suppose this book would be a bit sensational and superficial. The length would suggest a shallow stone-skipping over some deep subject matter, but the deftness with which the author covers a very tough topic is surprising, and makes for a lively read. Yes, Moneyland has preferred lenses, stemming from the years t ...more
David Wineberg
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world is far more corrupt than anyone imagines. The ruling classes feel entitled to steal tax money at will, stash it in overseas accounts, and spend it like it was legitimate through shell companies and trusts. The “country” that enables this is one Oliver Bullough calls Moneyland. It has no borders, no government, and no taxes, but gets it power and support from all of those. Its citizens are welcomed worldwide, no questions asked. The richer they are, the wider the doors swing open.

It use
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a situation where my enjoyment of the book doesn't match the quality of the material. The subject (hidden assets) is inherently secretive and complicated because wealthy people have great incentive to hide their assets and the means to succeed. The author does a very good job of describing the methods and the perpetrators and also happens to tell his stories in funny and honest ways. He seems to be a dreamer and I think that's very good.

The problem for me is that the book lacks connection
P N J van Welzen
Less is more

This book lacks structure. It seems more like a rambling essay and hops from one example to the next and then returns to an earlier one without an obvious reason. It also contains quite a bit of irrelevant material. The author should have focused on a smaller number of examples (for example Ukraine) . This would have made the (important) message more powerful and serious. The book and message are now more anecdotal.
Kaelan Ratcliffe ▪ كايِلان راتكِليف
Standing Up To Moneyland

Best bit of advise I can give about this book: read The New Poverty alongside it. It documents in journalistic fashion what modern poverty looks like in the UK right now. I'm pretty desensitised to the reality of the world, but this book made me feel seriously unnerved, and when you read this book alongside it, I can guarantee your blood will boil higher than you ever thought possible.

Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Moneyland” refers to a virtual country “of the lawless, stateless superrich.” A system in which state actors and/or mob (Putin, Mogilevich) steals money from poor, corrupt countries (Russia, Ukraine), hides it offshore in a shell company (Caribbean, Cyprus) where laws are lax, launders it through people like Donald Trump and institutions like Deutsche Bank, then spends it in fun, swanky places safe under the rule of law like London and NYC. So, the downtrodden are indirectly supporting the weal ...more
Jeff Kaye
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oliver Bullough has written a thoroughly entertaining account of the global phenomenon: how the very rich ensure that their wealth is protected by its non-statism.

In effect, money in the 21st century confounds the ability of individual nations to identify it let alone tax it. From suitcases packed with cash, the digital age means that the touch of a computer keyboard button transforms an account into a tax-free one by internationalising it.

This has had terrible consequences for the 'developing'
Sean Lynn
In Moneyland, author Oliver Bullough explores one major theme, 'Laws have borders, money does not.' Through thorough investigation, Bullough tracks the ways the wealthy shifts, hides, and protects their wealth.

It doesn't matter if they gained their riches honestly or criminally, pliable governments and corrupt institutions help shield these individuals and their assets for a cut a the profits. The methods recorded in this book are numerous, but all take advantage of the legal loopholes between
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2018, non-fiction
What happens with corrupt money? Where does it come from and where does it go?

Most corruption works in three stages: steal - hide - spend. This book focuses on the middle stage, and shows how the 'offshore' finance industry has grown out of the fledgling 'euro-dollar' bond market in the 1950's into an enormous business with trillions of dollars sloshing around more-or-less shady tax havens, such as Nevis, Jersey and Delaware.

While the ostensible purpose of many offshore schemes is to hide slight
Matthew Paniati
This book provides an excellent overview of the business of illicit international capital flows, and the corrosive effects this is having on world democracies. The author has a very clear POV and perhaps overstates how important these issues are on a macroeconomic level. He also tends to paint with a broad stroke in describing the people who are "offshoring" their money. However, his in-depth research and knowledge of the intricacies of the system provides for a compelling read and persuasive ar ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A first rate tour of the financial plumbing of the global plutocratic insurgency. Bullough spins an Infuriating tale of how well-heeled accountants and lawyers in “offshore finance” and elites in tax haven states enable globalized gangsters, callous kleptocrats, and banal nabobs to evade justice.
"...the root cause of Moneyland, which is that money is international while laws are not. As long as some jurisdictions allow things that other jurisdictions do not, Moneyland’s gatekeepers will always find a way of exploiting the mismatches..."

- As one lawyer in Ukraine put it: “The choice isn’t between taking a bribe or being honest; it’s between taking a bribe or your children being killed. Of course you take the bribe.”

- Corr
Samarth Gupta
Ran out of characters for my notes. This book is a phenomenal exposé in the world of tax evasion, money laundering, etc. It's truly infuriating what people with so much means do to evade their share of responsibility when the rest of the world suffers. Especially in countries in deep poverty.

“Wherever money is stolen from, it ends up in the same places: London, New York, Miami. And wherever it ends up, it is laundered in the same ways, through shell companies or other
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed it as an audiobook, I think I may have been converted to the audiobook way of life
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is outstandingly detailed, with a clear path through the so called “moneyland”. It talks about shady businesses that current media don’t want to talk about. Is just like a magic trick book in the sense that it unveils all the crooks tricks and secretes.
David W. W.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What happens if the rule of law is too weak to constrain the rich and powerful? The rich become even richer, siphoning off vast sums of money via bribes, extortions, tax evasion, and downright thievery - in the process defrauding the public sector of much needed resources. They achieve this end with the help of professional lawyers, accountants, and bankers, who devise increasingly ingenious ways of helping their mega-rich clients to run rings around honest government officials.

That may all soun
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened, money, finance
Moneyland is about ultra-wealth management and how the financial infrastructure for naughty money is the same vehicle for dirty money. It’s an incredible documentary related to one of the most talked about issues of the current decades, wealth inequality. The thesis of the book is money is not constrained by borders, but the monetary laws are. But the laws didn’t have to be after WWII, don’t have to be now, and should not be.

Thankfully, there are sections of the book where our better selves seem
Erik Graff
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any concerned about income distribution
Recommended to Erik by: Erik Badger
My stepbrother picked this up after hearing the author interviewed on public radio. I imagine it was a good interview as the text is peppered with outrageous anecdotes and stories about the super rich and those entities which serve them.

The background to this study is the increasing wealth of a global upper class at the expense of everyone else, a tendency dating back decades and exacerbated by the breakup of the Soviet Union. The overarching story is of how the rules of different jurisdictions
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction
"Money is international, while laws are not."
Oliver Bullough wrote a thoroughly researched and quite depressing book about how, if you're rich enough, there is very little a government can do to stop you from taking your money offshore, avoiding taxation and depriving the citizens of your country of vital services paid for by those taxes. The main focus is on those countries with young, previously emerging democracies following decades of communism or centuries of being part of an empire. The ou
Pantelis Paliouras
The book itself is an excellent feat of journalism, uncovering a lot of the mechanisms through which the corrupt steal-hide-spend their money. However, there did not seem to be a development or progression in his argument, but instead it was just an ever-growing list of anecdotes. The stories themselves can be interesting but for me personally it got boring reading the same sort of story over again in a new country by a new thief. In short the book feels like more an exposé than a book. So if yo ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent. Oliver Bullough dismantles the complicated and deliberately confusing world that is called Moneyland, not by zooming in on the technicalities (the 'how') but exposing the consequences the existence of Moneyland has on us all. From Ukrainian hospitals to Say Yes to the Dress, it is a riveting read, and Oliver is a master of telling stories. I haven't learnt how these complex schemes work, but Oliver has achieved something far greater by shedding his light on the stories of Moneyland. ...more
Harsh Arya
An excellent piece of investigative journalism. Halfway during the book I realised the author is Russian and which made me wonder, "God, this guy is not afraid to die". I am sure what this book covers would be just scratching the surface of it and a lot more lies beneath in the rut that is Moneyland. A book which leaves you with an uneasy feeling. ...more
Марио Костовски
Or in short "Everything you wanted to know about money laundering but were afraid to ask.".
A 5/5
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

"If you want to know why international crooks and their eminently respectable financial advisors walk tall and only the little people pay taxes, this is the ideal book for you. Every politician and moneyman on the planet should read it, but they won'
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I moved to Russia in 1999, after growing up in mid-Wales and studying at Oxford University. I had no particular plan, beyond a desire to learn Russian, but got a job at a local magazine and realised I liked finding things out and writing about them.

The next year I moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, then joined Reuters news agency, which sent me to Moscow. The first major story I reported on was the Mo

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