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Free Article: Dark Money Files Review

Friday 24 April 2020

It has taken four seasons of the Dark Money Files for this review to happen, but this UK-based podcast is one of the best for financial crime risk and compliance professionals. 

Over its four seasons, this podcast has taken a careful, step-by-step approach to global financial crime. It is the brainchild of Graham Barrow and Ray Blake. On their blog of the same name, Barrow defines himself as an expert in unravelling complex money laundering webs and Blake defines himself as an anti-financial crime professional. Together, they share their expertise to ‘shine a light into a murky world’.

The first season offers listeners a bit of ‘financial crime 101’, breaking down the laundromats and looking at some of the major financial crime scandals that made the biggest splashes in the media pool. 

Critical discussions focus on aspects of the Panama Papers and the issues that surrounded Deutsche Bank.

This year’s season, the fourth, takes slightly a different tact, looking not only at incidents but at the themes inherent in financial crime risk.

It begins with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) financial crime report, which according to Barrow and Blake, is not just UK-centric but can be beneficial for operators in any jurisdiction when looking at their own financial crime compliance.

They look at the legal debacle involving the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the sexism often displayed in the media’s focus on the wives of corrupt rulers—such as Rosmah Mansor and Imelda Marcos—instead of their husbands who were actually responsible, the effectiveness of fines and who is really being harmed when a regulator fines a regulated entity, and finally, what it really means when one talks about the effectiveness of an Anti-Money Laundering AML program.

While the podcast is aimed at a ‘non-technical audience’, which might leave it feeling a bit elementary for experienced financial crime professionals, it still acts as a good reminder and a definite ‘head’s up’ for those risk and compliance professionals who may now be making forays into financial crime compliance. 

For those interested in learning more about the 1MDB affair, Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope is useful a read. The second season of Dirty Money shines its own light on the murky world of political corruption and shell companies, as well as the ‘Malaysian Great Gatsby’, shelling out $1 million every time he wants to hang out with Paris Hilton. 

Podcast recommendation
While this might not be directly related, Covid-19 has raised some interesting questions around commercial contracts in Australia. 

The ABC‘s The Law Report seeks to answer some critical questions in this space in their episode entitled, How the coronavirus crisis is stress-testing commercial contracts. And how enforceable are self -isolation orders?

Happy Listening.

Dark Money Files Podcast