The language of financial crime

Hey, guess what? Rich people are just like you and me. They just use different words for their crimes. On a recent episode of NPR’s Fresh Air, journalist Oliver Bullough talked about all the ways that rich people around the world illegally hide their money. Around minute 36, Bullough talks about the euphemisms that rich people use when they fleece you:

GROSS: So if you’re a jurisdiction that has laws favorable to hiding money, you can’t exactly, like, advertise that. How does word get out?

BULLOUGH: You kind of can advertise it ’cause this is all done in – it’s all – everyone talks in euphemisms anyway. I mean, no one talks about hiding dirty money. You talk about, you know, asset protection or about – you know, no one talks about secrecy jurisdictions. You talk about confidentiality. You know, confidentiality and secrecy are the same thing, but they’re just – you’re putting a different spin on it. You know, you don’t talk about being a tax haven. You talk about avoiding fiscal friction.

GROSS: (Laughter) Oh, I like that.

BULLOUGH: It is a – you know, you – no one ever talks about a bribe. You talk about a consultancy payment or possibly a facilitation payment.

hiding dirty money asset protection

tax haven avoiding fiscal friction

bribe facilitation payment

keep warm burn the rich

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