Kleptocracy Initiative

Hudson’s Kleptocracy Initiative (KI) examines the growing threat posed to Western democracies by autocratic regimes. The Achilles’ heel of autocracy, as the fall of former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych suggests, is exposure of the massive and often hidden financial mechanisms used to shelter misappropriated assets.

KI conducts original research on the financial practices of autocratic governments and their leaders, and works to design new and effective policies aimed at limiting the ability of hostile foreign actors to abscond with national assets and use those assets against both their own citizens and the United States and its allies. KI will promote its work through a documentary film now in production, with frequent briefings for policymakers and journalists in the U.S. and overseas, and on this webpage, which will feature a broad array of resources for policy professionals in and out of government—and for the public-at-large:

• A library of books and articles, and a database of primary documents
• Text, podcasts, and video associated with KI’s policy studies, meetings, and conferences
• Links to other organizations working on related issues

Kleptocracy Initiative Advisory Council

Jack Blum is Chairman of Tax Justice Network USA. An attorney and expert on white-collar financial crime and international tax evasion, Blum spent fourteen years as a staff attorney with the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He played a central role in the Lockheed Aircraft bribery investigation in the 1970’s, which led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and in the investigation of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Blum has served as a consultant to the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations and the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention. Mr. Blum often testifies about money laundering and tax evasion before congressional committees, serves as a qualified expert to domestic governmental agencies and provides anti-money laundering training to domestic and foreign governmental agencies. Mr. Blum is the co-author of “Financial Havens, Banking Secrecy & Money Laundering,” UNDCP Technical Series, United Nations, 1998. In addition, his articles have been published in a number of books, including Transnational Crime in the Americas (“Offshore Money”) (Tom Farrer ed., 1999). He is a former Senior Editor of Crime, Law and Social Change: An International Journal.

William Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management. He was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country as a result of his battle against corporate corruption. Since 2009, when his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in a Russian prison after uncovering a $230 million fraud committed by Russian government officials, Browder has been leading a global campaign to expose the corruption and human rights abuses endemic in Russia. Consequentially, the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” was signed into US law in 2012, imposing visa bans and asset freezes on certain officials involved in Magnitsky’s death, and on other gross violators of human rights in Russia. Browder is currently working to have similar legislation passed across the European Union as a means to seek justice for Magnitsky and fight government-backed corruption in Russia. Before founding Hermitage, Browder was Vice-President at Salomon Brothers. He holds a BA (Honours) in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Stanford Business School.

Adam Garfinkle is Founding Editor of The American Interest. Before founding The American Interest in 2005, he served from 2003-2005 as principal speechwriter to both Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell. He was editor of The National Interest and has taught at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and other institutions of higher learning. Garfinkle served as a member of the National Security Study Group of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century (the Hart-Rudman Commission), and as an aide to Senator Henry M. Jackson. A widely published scholar, Garfinkle has received awards and grants from the US Department of State, the Fulbright Fellowship Program, the American Academy in Berlin, the German Marshall Fund, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Moshe Dayan Center for the Study of Middle Eastern and African Affairs at Tel Aviv University. His most recent book is Jewcentricity: How the Jews Get Praised, Blamed and Used to Explain Nearly Everything (Wiley, 2009). His Telltale Hearts: The Origin and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (St. Martin’s) was named a “notable book of the year” (1995) in the New York Times Book Review. Garfinkle received his PhD in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

James S. Henry is a lawyer, economist, and investigative journalist. He is Managing Director of the Sag Harbor Group (SHG Inc.), and co-Chair of Tax Justice Network – USA. He is also the founder and Editor of SubmergingMarkets™, a web blog devoted to a critical analysis of political and economic development issues, and first-hand investigations. Henry’s articles on “financial investigations” have appeared in many leading publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Conference Board, The Washington Post, US News, Manhattan Inc., Harpers, The Washington Monthly, Fortune, Business Week, The Nation, Newsweek, Time, The Tax Lawyer, Jornal do Brasil, The Manila Chronicle, La Nacion, El Fi-nanciero, and Slate. Henry’s books include, with Paul Starr and Ray Bonner, The Discarded Army – A Study of the Veterans Administration and Vietnam Veterans. (NY: Charterhouse, 1976); Banqueros y Lavadolares. (Bogotá: Tercer Mundo, 1996); The Internet’s Impact on Financial Services. (NY: AT Kearney, 1999); The Blood Bankers (NY: Avalon/ Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003); and Pirate Bankers (NY: Avalon, 2007). Henry is an graduate of Harvard College (Magna, Social Studies ’72; Decatur Prize;, Chairman, Institute of Politics, Student Advisory Committee); Harvard Law School (J.D., Honors, ‘76); Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (M.S. A.B.D., Economics, ‘78; ABD – dissertation ’05). He is an Edward R. Murrow Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and INSPIRE Fellow at its Institute for Global Leadership.

Kevin Klose is an award-winning author and worldwide broadcasting executive, serving most recently as the Acting President and Chief Executive Officer of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. A former Woodrow Wilson National Fellow, Klose was President of National Public Radio from 1998-2008. Prior to joining NPR, Klose served as President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from 1994-1997 and as Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau at the U.S. Information Agency from 1997-1998. Klose worked as an Editor and Reporter at The Washington Post for 25 years. Mr. Klose is a Founder of the Intermedia Survey Institute of Washington, a nonprofit research firm specializing in media and opinion surveys in Eurasia, and serves on the Advisory Council of the Eurasia Foundation. He is the author of many publications, including Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society, winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Cornelius Ryan Award. Klose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Harvard University.

David J. Kramer is president of Freedom House, which he joined in October 2010. Prior to joining Freedom House, Kramer was a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Kramer served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from March 2008 to January 2009. He also was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus affairs as well as regional non-proliferation issues. Previously, he worked as a Professional Staff Member in the Secretary of State’s Office of Policy Planning, as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and served as Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy in Washington. Before joining the U.S. Government, Kramer was a Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century, Associate Director of the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Assistant Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Kramer was a Lecturer in Russian Studies at Clark University in Worcester, MA and a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He also served as an analyst for the Christian Science Monitor Network during the collapse of the Soviet Union. A native of Massachusetts, Kramer received his M.A. in Soviet studies from Harvard University and his B.A. in Soviet Studies and Political Science from Tufts University.

John Walters is Chief Operating Officer of Hudson Institute, overseeing operations, including staff and research management. From December 2001 to January 2009, Walters was Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and a cabinet member during the Bush Administration. As the nation’s “Drug Czar,” Mr. Walters guided all aspects of federal drug policy and programs—supporting efforts that drove down teen drug use 25 percent, increased substance abuse treatment and screening in the healthcare system and dramatically dropped the availability of cocaine and methamphetamine in the U.S. He also helped build critical programs to counter narcoterrorism in Colombia, Mexico, and Afghanistan. From 1996 until 2001, Walters served as President of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a national association of charitable foundations and individual donors. His prior government service includes work at ONDCP, at its founding in 1989 as Chief of Staff, and later as Deputy Director of Supply Reduction. He was Assistant to the Secretary and Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Education during the Reagan Administration and served in the Division of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1982-1985. Mr. Walters has taught political science at Michigan State University’s James Madison College and at Boston College. He holds a BA from Michigan State University and a MA from the University of Toronto.

Ken Weinstein is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Institute. He joined Hudson in 1991 and was appointed CEO in June 2005. Weinstein was named President and CEO in March 2011. A political theorist by training whose academic work focuses on the early Enlightenment, Weinstein has written widely on international affairs for leading publications in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has been decorated with a knighthood in Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Weinstein graduated from The University of Chicago (B.A. in General Studies in the Humanities), the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (D.E.A. in Soviet and Eastern European Studies), and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science). Weinstein’s articles and translations have been published by numerous presses, most notably, Atlantic Books, Lexington Books, Ratio Juris (Italy), Tokuma Shoten (Japan), and the Princeton University Press. He is the co-editor, with Paul Aligica, of The Essential Herman Kahn: In Defense of Thinking (Lexington Books, 2009).




Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? December 10th Event

Crony Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics November 21st Event

In the Media

All Commentary