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Visible and Invisible Bars: Political Imprisonment, Civil Death, and the Consequences of Democratic Erosion

The Pandora Papers provide the most comprehensive look yet into the sprawling transnational networks that allow corrupt public officials and economic elite to launder and hide their illicit assets everywhere from the British Virgin Islands to Washington, D.C. The investigation shows that wealthy countries need to do far more to clean up the fiscal paradises they provide for kleptocrats, including by regulating professional enablers such as trust companies in South Dakota in the United States and real estate agents in London. U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation this week to do just that on the national-level. The global scale of the problem that the 11.9 million leaked confidential files from 14 financial service providers implicating public figures from over 90 countries demonstrates there is also the urgent need for a new international institution to hold kleptocrats and their professional enablers accountable.