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Book Lecture: Crude Intentions: How Oil Corruption Contaminates the World

4 March 2020 3:00PM PDT

  • Event

  • Ending 4:30PM PDT

Social Science Matrix

820 Barrows

Berkeley, CA 94720

NRGI advisor Alexandra Gillies will deliver a lunchtime lecture on her new book Crude Intentions: How Oil Corruption Contaminates the World at Berkeley's Social Science Matrix. Find more information and register here

About the book

“Gillies has written an essential primer on the new world order, in which kleptocrats are hijacking the global economy. From Goldman Sachs to Goodluck Jonathan, Rosneft to the Republican Party, she shows us how the corruption pandemic has spread worldwide. Her book pulses with a spirit not of despair but of action: don't let them get away with it.”  —Tom Burgis, author of The Looting Machine

“In this gripping, deeply-informed book, Gillies reveals the intricate deceptions, unwitting enablers, and extravagant fraud that has turned oil into staggering wealth, power, and corruption.”  —Michael Ross, Professor of Political Science, UCLA

Billions of dollars stolen from citizens are circling the globe, enriching powerful individuals, altering political outcomes, and disadvantaging everyday people. News headlines provide glimpses of how this corruption works and why it matters: President Trump's businesses struck deals with oligarchs and sold property to secretive shell companies; the Panama Papers leak triggered investigations in 79 countries; and corruption scandals toppled heads of state in Brazil, South Africa, and South Korea. But how do these pieces fit together? And if the corruption is so vast and so tied up with powerful interests, how do we begin to fight back?

To find answers, Crude Intentions examines the corruption crisis that erupted during the recent oil boom. From 2008 to 2014, oil prices shot through the roof. Motivated by more than nine trillion dollars in new oil money, corruption followed apace. Examining the oil boom is like placing a drop of dye in the circulatory system of global corruption, and watching as it reveals the system's channels and pathways. Company bosses signed off on risky schemes to snap up choice oil blocks. Politicians in Brazil and Nigeria stole billions to build up their election war chests. Kleptocrats in Angola, Azerbaijan, and Russia seized upon the oil wealth to cement their hold on power. And an army of bankers, accountants, and lawyers lined up to help these corrupt actors stash their loot in the global system of shell companies and tax havens that serve today's super-rich. The money then bought yachts, mansions, and even a few foreign politicians.

Drawing on information exposed by intrepid journalists, prosecutors, and whistle blowers, Crude Intentions tells jaw-dropping stories of corruption and asks what we can learn from them. The cases reveal common tactics, but also vulnerabilities in this web of fraud. These are the starting points for building a smarter fight against corruption, in the oil sector and well beyond.
Berkeley, California, United States