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The Daily Vertical: Putin's Weaponized Laundromat (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Well, it isn't easy to wrap your head around the Russian money-laundering scheme that was exposed this week.

According to a report released yesterday by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, more than $20 billion from 19 Russian banks was laundered through more than 5,000 companies with accounts in 732 banks in 96 countries.

Investigators believe the true figure could be as high as $80 billion.


You can buy a hell of a lot of influence with that kind of cash.

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You can run a hell of a lot of black ops and active measures with that kind of cash.

You can stealthily fund a hell of a lot of fake-news-spewing media with that kind of cash.

You can stir up a hell of a lot of mischief with that kind of cash.

Now, some of these billions are no doubt accounted for by run-of-the-mill fraud and tax-evasion schemes.

But it's hard to imagine an operation of this magnitude, involving figures with ties to the Russian government and security services, that isn't Kremlin sanctioned.

And since Vladimir Putin's regime uses corruption as a weapon, this massive money laundromat is clearly a tool of statecraft.

It's just the latest example that corruption is the new communism and the Kremlin's black cash is the new "red menace."

Corruption is no longer just an issue of good governance. It's a matter of national security.

And those in the West who enable the Kremlin's corrupt schemes -- either wittingly or unwittingly -- are Putin's little helpers.

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