Why spend your time reading mystery novels this summer, when real-world mysteries are swirling through the global financial system? Fenergo, which works with compliance officers from 17 of the top 50 banks in the world, has put together a riveting summer reading list for compliance professionals. It includes titles that cover the international underworld of money laundering, insights into understanding how criminals think and the impact of potential fraud, as well as practical advice and business lessons. Plus, there’s the added benefit of it all being true.
By: Jake Bernstein
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jake Bernstein takes you inside the world revealed by the Panama Papers, a landscape of illicit money, political corruption and fraud on a global scale. In “Secrecy World,” Bernstein explores this shadow economy and how it evolved, drawing on millions of leaked documents from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca ― a trove now known as the Panama Papers ― as well as other journalistic and government investigations. Bernstein exposes how shell companies operate, how they allow the super-wealthy and celebrities to escape taxes and how they provide cover for illicit activities on a massive scale by crime bosses and corrupt politicians across the globe.
By: Bruce Aitken
From humble beginnings in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, Bruce Aitken was destined to be a baseball player until fate intervened in the form of a knee injury and forever changed the course of his life. What started innocently enough, answering an ad in the newspaper, turned into a globe-trotting lifestyle of moving money ― huge sums of money ― for some of the world’s most notorious (and somewhat shady) characters. From the jungles of Vietnam to the money capitals of the world, Bruce moved in circles that would unquestioningly hand over millions of dollars to him on a handshake, to be deposited into Swiss Bank accounts.
By: Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier
In early 2015, an anonymous whistleblower led investigative journalists Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier into the shadow economy where the super-rich hide billions of dollars in complex financial networks. Thus began the groundbreaking investigation that saw an international team of 400 journalists work in secret for a year to uncover cases involving heads of state, politicians, businessmen, big banks, the mafia, diamond miners, art dealers and celebrities. A real-life thriller, “The Panama Papers” is the gripping account of how the story of the century was exposed to the world.
By: Tom Wright and Bradley Hope
The inside account of Ben Mezrich, a “modern Gatsby,” who managed to swindle over $5 billion with the aid of Goldman Sachs and others, exposing the secret nexus of elite wealth, banking, Hollywood and politics. An epic true tale of hubris and greed, “Billion Dollar Whale” reveals how this young social climber pulled off one of the biggest heists in history ― right under the nose of the global financial industry. Federal agents who helped unravel Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme say the 1MDB affair will become the textbook case of financial fraud in the modern age ― and its fallout is already being credited for taking down the prime minister of Malaysia.
By: Robert Mazur
Federal agent Robert Mazur spent five years undercover as a money launderer to the international underworld, gaining access to the zenith of a criminal hierarchy safeguarded by a circle of dirty bankers and businessmen who quietly shape power across the globe. In 1987, Mazur began infiltrating BCCI, the bankers behind the Medellín cartel. He meticulously gathered evidence for years until, during a fake wedding, federal agents arrested over 40 high-ranking criminals, who were all found guilty and sent to prison. Never before told, this is the incredible, true story of how he did it. The book was turned into a major motion picture starring Bryan Cranston.
By: Ray Dalio
In “Principles,” Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career as the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the most successful hedge fund in the world. He argues that life, management, economics and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, “Principles” also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve.
— Laura Glynn Director of Global Regulatory Compliance, Fenergo