Targeting lawyers, bankers, accountants and other financial experts who manage the offshore wealth of oligarchs pales in comparison to imposing sanctions on individuals close to the Kremlin, concluded a new academic study using data from the ICIJ.
A year ago, following the invasion of Ukraine, governments around the world responded by imposing a series of unprecedented economic sanctions against Russia, its oligarchs and political leaders around Vladimir Putin. target of western government offshore assets of oligarchs -Bank accounts, lavish homes, yachts and businesses – in an effort to put pressure on Putin.
But new reportPublished in February and titled “The Complex System of Secrecy: Offshore Networks of Oligarchs,” it said those restrictions “have proved easier to bypass than policymakers expected,” as governments “proceed to address the problem.” I have been slow”.
Instead of targeting oligarchs and their assets, researchers at Dartmouth College propose a “more effective and efficient” strategy: sanctioning professional wealth managers who help oligarchs pile up offshore wealth, such as bankers, lawyers and accountants. Let’s help. This would be particularly effective with Russian oligarchs, as they employ similar financial advisors and boutique wealth management firms, the study found.
“It’s probably the result of the need to keep secrets within the smallest group possible,” said Brooke Harrington, professor of sociology at Dartmouth and one of the study’s authors. “It is likely that Russian oligarchs, for example, have secrets that are too important to keep because some of their assets may be the proceeds of crimes.”
The researchers analyzed data from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. offshore rigs database, which includes information on more than 810,000 offshore entities. ICIJ obtained the data through five massive leaks: Pandora Papers, Paradise Papers, Bahamas Leek, Panama Papersand the name of the database, offshore leaks, The first batch of records were added in 2013. The data links people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.
Harrington, who in 2016 published the book Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent, said the ICIJ data allowed him to take his research beyond interviews and observation, to show that wealth managers are big “secret keepers.” are the ones who maintain the offshore system.
“It took so many years and the data I had to be leaked to prove it,” he said.
Through data analysis, the researchers found a small money management agency in London which mostly serves wealthy Russians and links the oligarchs to a number of offshore entities. The analysis also shows that at least 16 offshore entities are related Alisher Usmanov, an approved businessman close to Putin, is linked to a wealth management firm in the Isle of Man. Usmanov is a metal mining magnate and one of the richest man in russia,
The study described the network of enablers that links Russian elites to their offshore wealth as an “expertise pipeline” and argued that cutting it off was “comparable to losing access to a specific bank account or yacht or private jet”. I will have a more extensive punishment.”
Harrington said he and his colleagues are not advocating for money managers to be fired, but for stronger regulation of the industry.
“It means you are free to do your job but you can’t help the sanctioned oligarchs,” Harrington said. “You can’t work with some clients.”
Over the years the ICIJ has exposed financial secrets of people close to Putin. journalists and media partners have Mining leak probed by ICIJ To reveal how Russian elites have protected their billions using offshore entities, proxyyacht and other luxury property – with the help of a entire industry Of western professional pro, The reporting also details Russian business maneuvers by major Western companies such as Burger King And Baker McKenzieAmerica’s largest law firm.
US sanctions a Russian after ICIJ probe publicist, Business men Putin and members of his family as well Alexander StudhalterA Swiss businessman at the center of a vast web of shell companies linked to oligarchs Suleiman Kerimov ICIJ reveals western authorities also moved to seize luxury property Oligarch named in Pandora Papers and other offshore investigations.
earlier this month, Swiss prosecutors charge four banking executives Allegedly overseeing accounts linked to Putin’s childhood friend Sergei Roldugin, who had a network of offshore companies First revelations in ICIJ’s Panama Papers investigation,