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The level of sneakiness with Americans hiding money abroad is staggering: Patrick Radden Keefe

In this article:
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'Rogues' author, Patrick Radden Keefe, joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to explain how wealthy Americans hide money overseas.

Video Transcript

PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE: It's so fascinating. I mean, there's this big story about Swiss banking in "Rogues." And then more recently, I wrote a piece for "The New Yorker" about the Russian oligarchs in London and the kind of sophistication of the whole industry of financial simulation, basically, whether it's tax avoidance or the way in which things are structured such that nobody can put their hands on the money, is really interesting. And it is sort of a theme that keeps coming up in my work because in the case of the Sacklers, prior to Purdue Pharma declaring bankruptcy, the Sacklers had taken $10 billion out of the company.

And there's all kinds of interesting court papers where they basically acknowledge that that money is-- it's kind of beyond our reach at this point. We don't know where it is. We don't even know how to find it. And it would be very difficult to develop an accurate picture of how much money there is and where it's hiding.

And in the Swiss bank story that I have, which is actually about a guy who worked at HSBC in Geneva who stole a huge amount of private client data, and started sharing it with governments in Europe, and saying, hey, look, here's all the info on the wealthy people in France or Spain or Greece who've been hiding their money in Switzerland and not paying taxes, you get these crazy stories in that about the way in which you'd have these Swiss bankers come to places like New York City or Miami.

And there was never any mail, never any paper trail. They would meet in person with their clients. They'd sit on park benches. They wouldn't do phone calls. I mean, the level of sneakiness around very wealthy American clients hiding their money abroad is kind of staggering.