Panel discussion: 'Kleptocracy and The Financial Action Task Force'

06 June 2023

Portrait of Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

with Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira
Professor of the International Politics of Africa

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is Professor of the International Politics of Africa at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, Official Fellow of St Peter's College, and a Fellow with the Global Public Policy Institu...

The international standards regarding money laundering and terrorist financing are set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which describes itself as a ‘global watchdog’ whose recommendations ‘aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society’.

Yet various scandals such as the ‘laundromats’ of Russia and Azerbaijan – where billions of dollars were laundered into the West – have led to questions as to how effective these standards are in relation to illicit flows from ‘kleptocracies’, where the ruling elite controls, steals and profits from the country’s natural resources and lucrative businesses. Similarly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cast light on the billions of dollars of dubiously acquired funds stashed in London by the oligarchs and other financial supporters of Putin.

Can the FATF be effective in generating the necessary political will when so many countries rely on illicit flows, either to finance their economies or to stay in power? How could it be made more effective? If FATF is not the answer in curbing state theft, then what is? Does the solution lie in legislation or enforcement? This event brings together leading experts from investigative journalism, politics, academia and the anti-corruption world to debate these questions.


Oliver Bullough, Author, Journalist & Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow

Dr Susan Hawley, Executive Director , Spotlight on Corruption

Dame Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking and Dagenham

Professor Jason Sharman, Professor of Politics, University of Cambridge

Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira (Chair), Director, Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance