About TRACE Podcast: Bribe, Swindle or Steal

Podcast: Bribe, Swindle or Steal

In this podcast, TRACE President Alexandra Wrage explores the world of financial crime – corruption, fraud, money laundering and sanctions. Through interviews with investigative reporters, business people and prosecutors, Alexandra examines different angles of financial crime and explores what motivates people to break the law, how wrongdoers cover their tracks and what can be done to put a stop to the looting.

Click here to learn how you can use Bribe, Swindle or Steal as a supplementary anti-bribery compliance training resource. 

Lisa Osofsky: New Director of the SFO

In her first podcast, Lisa Osofsky discusses her goals for the Serious Fraud Office and how her professional background will make her a “different kind of Director”.

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The Alarming World of Insurance Fraud: Jim Quiggle

Jim Quiggle, of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, joins us to discuss the many grisly shapes that insurance fraud takes including, astonishingly, parachute sabotage.

All About RICO: Jim Trusty

Jim Trusty, previously responsible for the RICO review unit at the US Department of Justice, talks about the US racketeering law and how it has been used against the Mafia, MS13 and, more recently, FIFA.

Antitrust: Price-Fixing and Collusion: Lisa Phelan

Lisa Phelan, who until very recently was responsible for criminal enforcement of US antitrust laws and is now a partner with Morrison & Foerster, explains the world of antitrust violations.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency: Carrie Cohen

Carrie Cohen of Morrison & Foerster explains the regulatory and compliance implications of blockchain-enabled technology, including cryptocurrency.

Cost Effective Internal Investigations: Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Willkie Farr & Gallagher provides comprehensive guidance for planning and executing internal investigations and leveraging resources.

How Companies Get Caught: Chuck Duross

Chuck Duross, partner with Morrison Foerster and former head of the DOJ’s FCPA unit, discusses lures, stings, wiretaps and INTERPOL Red Notices.

Human Trafficking: Martina Vandenberg

Martina Vandenberg discusses the misery caused by trafficking and slavery, including in our own neighborhoods, and describes the work her organization is doing to support those able to break free.

Insider Trading: The Galleon Hedge Fund Scandal: Anita Raghavan

Anita Raghavan discusses Raj Rajaratnam and her book, “The Billionaire’s Apprentice, The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund”.

Offsets: What on Earth?: Bill Steinman

Bill Steinman of Steinman & Rodgers provides a primer on offsets and the compliance challenges they present.

Primer on Money-Laundering: John Madinger

A 22-year veteran of Treasury and consultant to the Dept of Justice, John Madinger sheds light on some of the money-laundering schemes he has uncovered and why the Breaking Bad car wash scheme probably wouldn’t have worked.

Problems with Campaign Finance: Senator Russ Feingold 

Senator Russ Feingold discusses McCain-Feingold, Citizens United and the vast, opaque sums involved in US politics today.

Prosperity Theology: "Spiritual Pickpockets": Jonathan Walton

Jonathan Walton, Harvard professor and ethicist, discusses prosperity theology and the role it plays in both power and poverty.

Understanding Sanctions: Amanda DeBusk

Amanda DeBusk walks us through the goal and nature of US sanctions, and the penalties for getting this important issue wrong.

Understanding Suspension, Debarment and Blacklisting: Jessica Tillipman

Jessica Tillipman provides a comprehensive and fast-paced explanation of how the government and others use suspension, debarment and blacklisting for punishment or deterrence.

Weighing Red Flags: Carolyn Lindsey

Carolyn Lindsey and Alexandra discuss a series of “red flags” relating to a problematic fictional agent, Tan, and the relevance of each.

Timely Topics

Anonymous Shell Companies: Gary Kalman

Gary Kalman of the FACT Coalition argues for transparency in corporate ownership and an end to the use of anonymous shell companies in this timely discussion about offshore accounts.

Debating ISO 37001: Judd Hesselroth

Judd Hesselroth and Alexandra debate the merits of the ISO anti-bribery standard and the associated accreditation process.

Do We Need an International Anti-Corruption Court?: Mark Wolf

Judge Mark Wolf of Integrity Initiatives International and Matthew Stephenson of Harvard Law School debate the pros and cons of an International Anti-Corruption Court.

Magnitsky Update: Canada: Bill Browder

Bill Browder discusses Canada’s new Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and which country he hopes will be the 6th to adopt a similar law.

Sanctions Update: Turbulent Times: Amanda DeBusk

Amanda DeBusk, sanctions expert with Dechert LLP, provides an update on Iran, China’s ZTE and North Korea.

Where GDPR and Due Diligence Collide: Illya Antonenko

Illya Antonenko, privacy counsel with TRACE, discusses the direct conflict between the GDPR and robust anti-bribery due diligence and TRACE’s efforts to press for revisions to laws for a carve-out for due diligence.

Schemes and Scandals

The Abramoff Lobbying Scandal and Beyond: Nat Edmonds

Nat Edmonds of Paul Hastings describes his work as a prosecutor on the Jack Abramoff corruption cases and then provides broader insight into the compliance risks and schemes he sees worldwide.


1MDB: Bradley Hope

Bradley Hope of the Wall Street Journal describes his team’s in-depth and on-going research into Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal- and where Leonardo DiCaprio fits in.

"Bad Blood" - the Theranos Scandal: John Carreyrou

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner John Carreyrou discusses his excellent book about the Theranos scandal, “Bad Blood”, and how Elizabeth Holmes conned everyone.

Bernie Madoff: "The Wizard of Lies": Diana Henriques

Diana Henriques drew on her years of financial journalism and extraordinary access to the title character to write the definitive book about Bernie Madoff.  It was turned into an HBO movie earlier this year starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Diana, playing herself.

Benched: Impeaching West Virginia’s Entire Supreme Court: Lacie Pierson

Lacie Pierson of the Charleston Gazette-Mail discusses the startling and controversial removal of all sitting justices in West Virginia.

Buying Fakes: Valerie Salembier

Valerie Salembier, former publisher of Harper’s Bazaar and founder of The Authentics Foundation, discusses the true cost of counterfeit luxury items:  child labor, trafficked labor and organized crime.

Duke Cunningham and the Bribe Menu: Marcus Stern

Marcus Stern, the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter who broke the story, describes the bribery scheme that landed then Congressman “Duke” Cunningham in jail for seven years.

"Fat Leonard": Craig Whitlock

Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post describes the sleaze and corruption that compromised the top ranks of the Seventh Fleet.

Madoff and Belfort: Ike Sorkin

Ike Sorkin, lawyer to both Bernie Madoff and Jordan Belfort, talks through their criminal financial schemes and how regulatory safeguards failed. 

Massive Binary Options Con: Simona Weinglass

Simona Weinglass, a reporter with the Times of Israel, describes the US$10 billion global binary options scam that she and her colleagues exposed. Far from being a sophisticated scheme, it was simply unchecked fraud on a massive scale.

Money-laundering in Vancouver in Casinos: the Vancouver Model: Peter German

Peter German, author of the comprehensive German Report, discusses the unique and unsettling “Vancouver Model” of financial crime, which includes both money-laundering and drug trafficking using casinos as the way station.

The Outlaw Ocean: Ian Urbina

New York Times reporter Ian Urbina discusses his excellent but grim series about crime and impunity on the high seas.

The Plight of Pangolins: Katharine Abernethy

Prof. Katharine Abernethy discusses the dramatic and illegal overhunting and subsequent smuggling of pangolins, the most trafficked animal in the world, to supply the Asian market with their scales believed—without evidence—to cure cancer. 

Siemens' Bribery Scandal: Peter Solmssen

Peter Solmssen, former GC of Siemens, tells their story.  “They didn’t need to pay bribes.   We were perplexed.”

Slave Auctions in Libya in 2017: Nima Elbagir and Raja Razek

Nima Elbagir and Raja Razek of CNN go undercover in Libya to expose a hellish, thriving slave trade.

The Smartest Guys in the Room: Peter Elkind

Peter Elkind tells the story of the Enron financial scandal; it’s a timely refresher on that corporate disaster as the Trump Administration rolls back financial regulations.

The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: Jack Ewing

Jack Ewing of the New York Times in Frankfurt discusses his excellent book, “Faster, Higher, Farther:  The Volkswagen Scandal,” and the outrageous fraud and cover-up uncovered by a handful of WVU students.

When Companies Negotiate with Terrorists: Dorothee Myriam Kellou

Investigative journalist Dorothee Myriam Kellou tells the story of the Lafarge plant in Syria that was ultimately taken over by ISIS.

Wine Forger Extraordinaire: Peter Hellman

Peter Hellman, Wine Spectator regular and author of In Vino Duplicitas, tells the almost unbelievable story of wine fraudster, Rudy Kurniawan.

Those Involved in Misconduct

After You Pay a Bribe: Lindsey Mitchell

Listen to the riveting first-hand story of a Unaoil executive who found himself at the center of a bribery scheme.

MCI's Accounting Fraud: Walt Pavlo

Walt Pavlo discusses the accounting fraud at MCI that led to his two-year prison sentence, his book “Stolen Without a Gun: Confessions from inside history’s biggest accounting fraud,” and his second career with Prisonology.

Preparing for Prison: Walt Pavlo

Walt Pavlo describes how his organization helps offenders prepare for their incarceration and discusses challenges—and a few surprises--within the prison system.

A Year in Prison for Insider Trading: Roomy Khan

Roomy Khan, “Tipper A” in the Galleon Group insider trading case, discusses the many small decisions that lead to catastrophic consequences in the world of financial crime.

The Criminal Mind

Chinese Criminal Gangs: John Langdale

John Langdale, a professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, discusses his research into Chinese criminal gangs, their method of attaching to legitimate business and trade routes, and some implications for Belt and Road projects.

How Criminals Justify Their Conduct: Shaul Shalvi

Shaul Shalvi, a professor of behavioral ethics, describes how people convince themselves that their misconduct is OK.

"Why They Do It": Eugene Soltes

Eugene Soltes describes his fascinating research into what motivates white collar criminals and how distance from their victims makes it easier.

The Role of Reporters

The Paradise Papers: Will Fitzgibbon

Will Fitzgibbon, an ICIJ reporter on the Paradise Papers team, describes this latest tranche of documents.  He discusses the corrosive nature of offshore accounts, even in those cases where they are technically legal.

"Secrets in the Sky": Kelly Carr

Kelly Carr discusses her research, with Jaimi Dowdell, that uncovered the gaps in US oversight of private planes that make the country more vulnerable to terrorists and drug lords.

The Unaoil Story: Nick McKenzie

Nick McKenzie tells the exciting story of his role in the investigation into Unaoil.

Blackmail, Bullying and Murder

The Death of Sergei Magnitsky: Bill Browder

Bill Browder of Hermitage Capital describes the brazen fraud and violence of Putin’s Russia.

Murder in Malta: Roberto Montalto

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb while reporting on corruption in Malta. Roberto Montalto, her lawyer, describes her courage, her work and the loss of a Maltese institution.

Imprisoned in China: Peter Humphrey

Peter Humphrey and his wife were well-respected compliance professionals active in China when they were arrested, tried and imprisoned for two years.

When Reporting is a Crime: Khadija Ismayilova

Acclaimed investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova describes her efforts to uncover corruption in Azerbaijan and the state-sponsored blackmail, and then imprisonment, she suffered. Khadija has been represented by an international coalition of lawyers: Amal Clooney (Doughty Street Chambers), Alinda Vermeer (Media Legal Defence Initiative), Yalchin Imanov and Fariz Namazov

Click here to view the briefs.


David Green and the UK Serious Fraud Office: David Green

David Green, the Director of the SFO, talks about the SFO’s priorities, changes he has made as Director and what’s next for him.

FCPA Enforcement at the SEC: Kara Brockmeyer

Kara Brockmeyer, former Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, describes the Unit’s role in the joint enforcement of the U.S. anti-bribery law.

2017 FCPA Year in Review: Billy Jacobson

Billy Jacobson describes the key FCPA enforcement actions of 2017, what surprised him last year and his assessment of enforcement under President Trump.

Fifteen Years of the UNCAC: Candice Welsch

Candice Welsch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime describes the work, progress and goals of the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Fujimori, Montesinos and TI: José Ugaz

Before becoming chairman of Transparency International, José Ugaz was the “ad hoc state attorney” (special prosecutor) who brought down Peruvian President Fujimori and his head of intelligence, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Harmonizing Global Settlements: Tina Søreide

Tina Søreide discusses her work, through the IBA, to bring consistency and predictability to bribery settlements worldwide.

Hong Kong's ICAC: Simon Peh

Commissioner Simon Peh of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption discusses its mandate, tools, successes and future challenges.

Menendez, McDonnell and Anti-Bribery Efforts in the US: Randall Eliason

Randall Eliason discusses the recent Menendez trial, the impact of the Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision and the current state of domestic anti-bribery enforcement in the US.

Spoiling Their Shopping Trips: Rob Leventhal

Rob Leventhal of the US State Department discusses the tools available to the US Government to make the lives of kleptocrats more difficult.

Tackling Financial Crime: David Eby

David Eby, Attorney General of British Columbia, discusses comprehensive measures being taken to address financial crime in that province.

Twenty Years of the OECD's Anti-Corruption Campaign: Nicola Bonucci

Nicola Bonucci, Director for Legal Affairs at the OECD, reflects on 20 years of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime

Neil Walsh, Chief of Cybercrime, AML and Counter-Financing of Terrorism at the UNODC in Vienna, discusses the work that his department does to coordinate and advance international initiatives.

White House Ethics Czar: Norm Eisen

Norm Eisen, former White House Ethics Czar and then Ambassador to Prague and current Chairman of CREW, talks about his work at the White House and the importance of setting the right tone.  Norm also previews his new book:  “The Last Palace.”


The Congo: A Family-Owned Business: Michael Kavanagh

Bloomberg’s Michael Kavanagh describes his research into the extensive holdings of the Kabila family in the DRC.

Corruption in the Caucasus: Alexander Kupatadze

Alexander Kupatadze discusses corruption and smuggling in his native Georgia and neighboring post-Soviet states.

Corruption's Toll on Africa: Michelle Gavin

Michelle Gavin, former ambassador to Botswana, discusses corruption on the continent and how the west is perceived.

From Russia with Cash: Roman Borisovich

Roman Borisovich of ClampK discusses going undercover to film his documentary, “From Russia with Cash”, which exposes exploitation of the London real estate market by kleptocrats and money-launderers. He is also the architect of London’s “Kleptocracy Tours”.

Kenya and "It's Our Turn to Eat": Michela Wrong

Michela Wrong discusses her excellent book about Kenyan whistleblower John Githongo, the corruption he uncovered and what has--and hasn’t--changed.

Trump Hotel - Baku: Adam Davidson

Adam Davidson of the New Yorker joins the podcast to talk about his research into the baffling Trump Hotel deal in Baku.


Corruption, Rule of Law and Legitimacy in War Zones: Aaron O’Connell

Aaron O’Connell, a Marine colonel, author and history professor discusses his research of, and personal experience in, Afghanistan and his excellent book: Our Latest Longest War:   Losing Hearts and Minds In Afghanistan.

"The Despot's Guide to Wealth Management": Jason Sharman

Prof. Jason Sharman at King's College, Cambridge, discusses his book about how kleptocrats operate and advocates for a controversial "bounty hunter" model for asset recovery.

Dirty Entanglements: Corruption, Crime and Terrorism: Louise Shelley

Louise Shelley, founder of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, discusses her book about the links between the three international scourges.

"Illicit" and the Underside of Globalization: Moisés Naím

Moisés Naím, author, public intellectual at Carnegie Endowment and former Minister of Trade and Industry for Venezuela discusses his book, Illicit:  How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy.

"Thieves of State": Sarah Chayes

Sarah Chayes discusses her time in Afghanistan and discusses the link between corruption and national security.

Virtuous Circles of Anticorruption: Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston talks about the research for his book “Transitions to Good Governance: Creating Virtuous Circles of Anticorruption”.  He provides some cause for optimism as he describes lessons we can learn from modest success stories like Botswana and Georgia.

Sports Governance

The Corrupt Underbelly of Sport: Declan Hill 

Declan Hill discusses the pervasive and sinister nature of match-fixing and how we can prevent sport from being turned into theater.

Doping at the Olympics: Richard Conway

Richard Conway of BBC Sports describes the vast state-sponsored Russian doping scandal and how the credibility of global sports is being undermined.

FIFA's Red Card: Ken Bensinger

Ken Bensinger discuss his fascinating book, Red Card, and the decades of misconduct by FIFA eventually uncovered by the FBI. We play “violation bingo” as Ken describes the bribery, self-dealing, conflicts of interest and money-laundering that were business as usual at FIFA.

The FIFA Swamp: Grant Wahl

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated discusses how decades of FIFA corruption and self-dealing have undermined the world's favorite sport. 

Football Dreams: Sebastian Abbot

Sebastian Abbot, author of “The Away Game;  The Epic Search for Soccer’s Next Superstars,” talks about Qatar and the biggest soccer talent search in history, as well as the darker side of recruiting for the sport.

The Brooklyn FIFA Trial: Declan Hill

International sports expert, Declan Hill, returns to the podcast to discuss the FIFA trial that concluded in late December and the outlook for meaningful reform.

Spotlight Series

Spotlight on Argentina: Guillermo Jorge

Guillermo Jorge, a partner at Governance Latam in Buenos Aires, discusses the new Argentinian law that creates corporate liability for bribery that came into effect on March 1.

Spotlight on Brazil: Rafael Gomes

Rafael Gomes with Petrobras discusses all that has been going on in Brazil recently on the anticorruption front, the current outlook there and the upcoming run-off election.


Spotlight on Canada: James Klotz

James Klotz with TRACE’s partner firm, Miller Thomson, discusses anti-bribery efforts in Canada, the patchy enforcement of the CFPOA and last year’s repeal of the facilitation payment exception.

Spotlight on China: Vasu Muthyala and Cindy Hong

Join two legal experts for a conversation about compliance challenges in China.

Spotlight on Denmark: Anders Worsøe

Anders Worsøe of the Magnusson firm in Copenhagen discusses Danish attitudes toward corruption and then looks at compliance and enforcement in Denmark.

Spotlight on France: Dominique Mondoloni

Dominique Mondoloni with TRACE’s partner firm in France, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, discusses the new Sapin II law and its implications for both compliance and enforcement there.

Spotlight on Germany: Christian Schefold

Christian Schefold, with TRACE partner firm Dentons in Berlin, discusses anti-bribery enforcement and compliance developments in Germany.

Spotlight on Hong Kong: Wendy Wysong

Wendy Wysong of Clifford Chance describes the aspects of Hong Kong's anti-bribery law and enforcement regime that set it apart from most others.

Spotlight on India: Vasu Muthyala

Vasu Muthyala of Kobre & Kim discusses some of the challenges facing companies doing business in India, and some recent improvements there. View the TRACE Bribery Risk Matrix country report for India here.

Spotlight on Israel: Chaim Gelfand

Chaim Gelfand of Israeli law firm Shibolet & Co talks us through the corruption scandals involving two Israeli Prime Ministers and discusses the current compliance environment in Israel.

Spotlight on Italy: Andrea Lo Gaglio

Andrea Lo Gaglio, a Partner at Studio Legale Biamonti in Rome, describes corruption, compliance and the role of the mafia in Italy.

Spotlight on Lebanon: Bashar Khatib

Colonel Bashar Khatib, head of Lebanon’s financial crimes and money-laundering division, discusses his organization and mandate and some successes and ongoing challenges.

Spotlight on Mexico: Daniel Maldonado

Daniel Maldonado discusses Mexico’s ramped-up anti-bribery enforcement efforts, where problems still linger and how the WalMart case is perceived there.

Spotlight on the Netherlands: Marike Bakker

Marike Bakker, with TRACE partner firm NautaDutilh in Amsterdam, discusses recent Dutch anti-bribery enforcement efforts.

Spotlight on New Zealand: Gary Hughes

Gary Hughes of Ākarana Chambers in Auckland discusses corruption and other financial crimes in New Zealand and whether the country deserves its rankings on the various bribery indices.

Spotlight on Nigeria: Olukayode Dada

Olukayode Dada of Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie in Lagos discusses the compliance climate and corruption in Nigeria.

Spotlight on Panama: David Mizrachi

David Mizrachi of Panamanian law firm MDU Legal discusses recent AML enforcement in Panama and living under the cloud of the “Panama Papers”.

Spotlight on South Africa: Paul Holden

Our “spotlight” series takes a closer look at one country.  Today, Paul Holden of Corruption Watch talks about Zuma’s corruption scandal, the Gupta family and the nature of commercial bribery in South Africa.

Spotlight on Switzerland: Daniel Bühr

Daniel Bühr, with TRACE’s Swiss partner firm LALIVE, discusses recent cases in Switzerland and the country’s uneasy relationship to transparency and financial crime.

Spotlight on the UAE: Charles Laubach

Charles Laubach of Afridi & Angell’s Dubai office discusses the compliance and enforcement landscape there, as well as some common misperceptions and his advice for companies operating in the UAE.

Spotlight on the UK: Michelle de Kluyver

Michelle de Kluyver of Addleshaw Goddard discusses the UK Bribery Act in a lively, informative interview.