This project examines the role played by lawyers, accountants, and other professional service providers in enabling the transfer of illicit money out of resource-rich but people-poor countries and into the financial systems of developed economies in the West and, increasingly, the East. High profile investigations by journalists exposing the 1MDB, Luanda Leaks, and Panama Papers scandals, have highlighted the part played by professional intermediaries, sometimes internationally-branded firms operating in major financial centres, in helping globally mobile elites move, launder, and protect ill-gotten gains. The project asks what drives the decisions and behaviours of these professionals as they manage the tension between the pressure to bring in new client revenue and the obligation to comply with anti-money laundering requirements. It analyses and compares four jurisdictions: Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and Dubai. It examines how the behaviour of professional service providers in each jurisdiction changed in response to the historical evolution in the institutions regulating money-laundering and to major media investigations exposing professional service provider complicity.
Dr. Omar Shahabudin McDoom, Principal Investigator
Dr McDoom is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics in the LSE’s Department of Government. Before entering academia, he worked for the World Bank on international development policy and strategy. He is also an Attorney admitted in New York.