Brooke Harrington

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Break the Chain Between Russian Oligarchs and Managers, and You Break Everything

Russian oligarchs were hit with sanctions last year in an effort to cut off Vladimir Putin’s overseas lieutenants from their vast offshore wealth — an estimated 60 percent of their net worth. Mega-yachts, private jets and luxury villas were seized, sometimes with news cameras rolling. Yet for all that drama, much of the oligarchs’ money was quietly moved to safer havens.

Russian oligarchs have even evaded sanctions on the home turf of one of the leading countries penalizing them — specifically, in a striking display of impunity, by investing in U.S. real estate. The Justice Department recently announced that Viktor Vekselberg — who cultivated Western leaders on behalf of Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Voting at the United Nations General Assembly, New York, October 2022 David 'Dee' Delgado / Reuters

Pariah status is a powerful motivator in foreign affairs. Being expelled by an international community of peers can irreversibly damage the reputation of countries and individuals alike. Yet the impact of stigma remains underappreciated by policymakers and scholars. Many Western commentators have been skeptical about the individual sanctions imposed on Russia’s oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine, which included freezing assets, blocking transactions, and banning travel. Early in the war, the economist Robert Reich wrote that it was “proving difficult to use sanctions on specific oligarchs to get Putin to stop”, arguing that such figures don’t wield enough influence over the Kremlin to directly affect policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

When Reputation Matters, Leaks Like the Pandora Papers Can Be Very Effective

Some reports on the Pandora Papers have featured colorful and scintillating headlines (“Secret money, swanky real estate and a Monte Carlo mystery”), but there is a drab, depressing familiarity to the nearly 12 million leaked confidential financial records that throw light on the opaque wealth of powerful public figures around the world.

We see the same ominous pattern as in the Panama Papers leak of 2016 and the Paradise Papers leak of 2017: legalized corruption at the highest levels, on an almost unimaginably vast scale. And it appears that the people most empowered to end this nightmare are the most heavily invested in prolonging it for their own benefit.…  Seguir leyendo »