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RELEASE: CAP Report Offers Guide for Curbing Global Corruption and Turning the Tide on Dirty Money

Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress offers a comprehensive road map for how the world’s leading democracies can tackle the growing problem of kleptocracy and illicit finance—practices that pose a threat to the security of democratic societies.

The plan has been reviewed and welcomed by the chairmen of the foreign affairs committees of the U.S. Senate, the United Kingdom, and the EU parliament. These leaders have embraced the recommendation that the world’s democracies should work together to increase transparency in the global economy and limit the pernicious influence of corruption, kleptocracy, and illicit finance on democratic institutions.

The report comes as President Joe Biden has called for a greater global effort to deter corruption and strengthen global democracy. Making good on that pledge will require addressing the growth of poorly regulated and ungoverned spaces in the global financial system and pushing back against the use of “weaponized” corruption by authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China. The report argues that such efforts will not only strengthen national security, but also contribute to more resilient and inclusive societies at home.

“Kleptocracy is not a problem that can be solved by one country alone,” said Trevor Sutton, a senior fellow at CAP and co-author of the report. “It’s time to present a united democratic front against corruption and illicit finance. Doing so will strengthen democratic institutions, create a more just and fair global economy, and curb a favorite tool of authoritarian states.”

The report proposes that the United States and other leading democratic nations launch a Global Kleptocracy Initiative (GKI) modeled on the 2003 Proliferation Security Initiative. This initiative would increase transparency in the global economy, curb the influence of dirty money in domestic political systems, and strengthen middle-class prosperity. The GKI could be launched at the forthcoming 2021 G-7 summit in the United Kingdom or at the Summit for Democracy planned by the Biden administration.

The GKI should be anchored on several key pillars:

  • Harmonization of regulatory standards
  • Investment in institutions with equities in the fight against corruption and illicit finance
  • More robust and coordinated use of existing anti-corruption and anti-money laundering authorities
  • Lowered barriers to information exchange and joint law enforcement efforts
  • Better integration of anti-kleptocracy aims into national and regional-level security strategies

Read the report: “Turning the Tide on Dirty Money: Why the World’s Democracies Need a Global Kleptocracy Initiative” by Trevor Sutton and Ben Judah

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.