Kleptocracy undermines democracy. Bolstering the capacity of journalists and civil society to respond to it at its source must be a central priority of the international community.
President Joe Biden brought with him to the White House the hope that a US President would finally lead a global effort to fight back against kleptocracy, corruption and illicit finance. The omens were positive. Writing in 2018, the future president laid out how Washington and Western allies should respond to the threat posed by illicit finance, urging action from all those responsible for its facilitation. In 2020, Biden emphasised this message, committing to combat corruption ‘as a core national security interest and democratic responsibility’ and ‘lead efforts internationally to bring transparency to the global financial system, go after illicit tax havens, seize stolen assets, and make it more difficult for leaders who steal from their people to hide behind anonymous front companies’.