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Central Asia's Hidden Offshore Ties: The Politics of Money-laundering and Virtual State-Building

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 9:00am - 1:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building Room 1501
Please join the Harriman Institute for a conference on Central Asia. For the first two decades of independence, most academics and policy analysts have viewed Central Asia as detached from the global economy and the diffusion of international liberal economic norms and practices. This assumption is highly selective analytically and empirically inaccurate. Re-orienting our focus away from formal trade flows to the more hidden offshore world and institutions of contemporary finance, we see, in fact, multiple areas that connect the region to the global economy. Central Asian elites have learned to strategically use global financial institutions and offshore vehicles to split the legal personality of nominally state-controlled assets, launder moneys, and structure side payments for their dealings with external actors such as foreign militaries and energy companies. For the most part, however, these complex webs of offshore entities have largely insulated governments from sustained international scrutiny. This half-day conference brings together leading scholars, practitioners and advocates to analyze, for the first time, Central Asia's hidden offshore connections. Program TBA