Undermoney by DCI Group

Hidden Connections: How the World Really Works - with Bradley Hope

Undermoney by DCI Group

Corruption, money laundering, negotiation of slave labor and espionage—just a few of the nefarious activities committed by various representatives of government across the world.

With these activities festering beneath the surface of the waters of the world, one thing is for sure…without men and women like Bradley Hope, much of what is done in the dark among these criminal institutions would still be hidden in the dark.

On this week’s episode of “Undermoney”, Jay Newman sits down with journalist and author of “The Billion Dollar Whale”, Bradley Hope. Bradley is a pioneer and titan in the world of investigative journalism and reporting, and was one of the key individuals that helped uncover one of the greatest frauds of all time, the 1MBD scandal.

Tune in as they discuss hidden worlds, the inner workings of corrupt governmental systems. and ways that the nations of the world can ban together to weed out the criminality and manipulation of government across the world.

00:00 💰 The author of "Billion Dollar Whale" discusses the ambitious MDB scandal involving a pyramid scheme and a kleptocratic state that resulted in a massive spending spree and a scandal involving 8-9 billion dollars.

  • Bradley Hope, former investigative journalist and author of "The Billion Dollar Whale," discusses the fascination with North Korea and the intersection of power, people, and money on the Under Money video podcast.
  • "Billion Dollar Whale" is the result of a big team of people over many years chipping away at the uncovering of the scandal.
  • The speaker became involved in reporting on the 1MDB scandal due to personal connections and eventually became the lead reporter on the story.
  • The MDB Scandal was an ambitious fraud involving a pyramid scheme and a kleptocratic state that created a new sovereign wealth fund, but instead of having savings, they borrowed money and Jolo, at the center of the fraud, stole the money and went on a massive spending spree.
  • A man manufactured a fake history for missing money and tried to influence the US political system to get the case dropped, resulting in a scandal involving 8-9 billion dollars.

05:35 💰 Western banks, investment banks, and international accounting firms were implicated in political corruption and money laundering schemes, while the ongoing 1MDB scandal continues to reveal new components of the fraud and complicity of institutions.

  • The speaker revealed political corruption in various countries and implicated Western banks, investment banks, and international accounting firms, as well as the use of lawyer trust accounts, to gain access to high-level information.
  • Reporting on the ongoing 1MDB scandal was a challenge due to the need to uncover new components of the fraud and complicity of institutions, and the need to constantly pressure for answers.
  • Jolo, the perpetrator of the Hollywood and Middle Eastern sovereign fund fraud, was a charismatic guy who knew how to bribe people with currency and the Prime Minister of Malaysia was one of the few who went to jail in this not-so-sophisticated fraud.
  • The money laundering scheme was easy to uncover due to the sloppy aspects of it, but over time the perpetrator got better at it and managed to make money disappear into the global financial system, resulting in some arrests but a narrow conviction for Najib in Malaysia.
  • The US Department of Justice's expansive view of jurisdiction allowed them to expose the inner workings of a sophisticated Russian organized crime unit involved in a billion-dollar fraud, leading to convictions of only two individuals.
  • Minor characters in the 1MDB scandal have been sentenced to jail, while the most important figure, Tim Leicester, may avoid prison due to cooperation, and Jolo, the main suspect, is still at large.

11:51 💰 Sovereign states in the Middle East lack accountability for corruption due to officials and government institutions being only accountable to the royal family, with Abu Dhabi's Royal Family implicated in the scandal and concerns of national security and diplomacy trumping the Department of Justice's concerns.

  • The monetization of sovereign states is a problem in the Middle East, where officials and government institutions are only accountable to the royal family, leading to a lack of accountability for corruption.
  • Abu Dhabi's Royal Family is implicated in the scandal, but there is no sense of justice as the legal process is not considered robust and concerns of national security and diplomacy can trump the Department of Justice's concerns.
  • The state department was ready to cut out information that could harm strategic interests, and the speaker reflects on how past investigative projects have led to valuable sources for future stories.
  • The speaker co-authored a book called Blood and Oil which explores the Saudi component of the 1MDB scandal and the battle for power in Saudi Arabia, and also worked on a podcast called People Like Us with journalist Kim Ghattas to provide a nuanced understanding of the Middle East.
  • The state in the Middle East is ruled by the elite, and money is not stolen but rather the property of the ruling class.
  • Living or traveling in Gulf countries can quickly become menacing due to the delicate and fragile nature of those in charge who control all aspects of the state, as seen through the author's personal experiences during the Arab Spring and being a target of the Pegasus system, highlighting the risks for journalists and the open and notorious nature of the Middle Eastern Elites' financial dealings.

20:07 💰 Gulf Royals and international law firms use attorney trust accounts and Iota accounts to launder money, while Jolo used law firms and a special server for criminal activity, and North Korean ambassadors engage in criminal operations to funnel money back to senior officials.

  • Rich Gulf Royals use a trustee relationship with their right-hand man to hold assets and avoid paperwork, and attorney trust accounts are the perfect vehicle for moving, hiding, and stealing money.
  • International law firms can help launder money by receiving it from entities on sanctions lists and depositing it into iolta accounts, which are meant for legal aid funding but can be used to pay bills.
  • Jola used trust accounts meant for temporary holding of money to hold money for a long time and pay bills from them, and tried various methods to sneak around the financial system in the 1mgb case, including depositing money in mutual funds in Curacao that lend money out the back door for a fee.
  • Using Iota accounts for money laundering is a clear technique, but after the law firm Sherman and Sterling case, it is unlikely that law firms will continue to use this method.
  • Jolo used law firms for criminal activity and had a special server set up on an island for undiscoverable communication, which could be seen as aiding and abetting, and once a relationship is established with a law firm, money can flow in and out without further due diligence.
  • North Korean ambassadors run criminal operations to funnel money back to senior officials in North Korea, using their diplomatic immunity to engage in activities such as counterfeiting and selling counterfeit cigarettes.

29:47 🕵️ North Korea's embassies abroad engage in criminal activities, including espionage and selling military equipment, while a Korean-American activist radicalizes to help North Korean escapees and create a government in exile.

  • North Korea's hacker networks overseen by embassies abroad engage in various activities including selling military equipment to other nations, and despite being a hermit nation, they have managed to surprise people with their consequential actions such as counterfeiting U.S currency and brazen hacking.
  • Adrian Hong, a Korean-American activist, started off with typical activism but later radicalized to help North Korean escapees and create a government in exile to contest North Korea.
  • The founder of a group involved in a mission gone wrong in Spain is now a fugitive from the US Marshal Service due to a warrant based on the idea that he tried to kidnap a diplomat, but it was actually staged to protect the diplomat's family in North Korea.
  • North Korean embassies around the world have a criminal underbelly and each embassy has its own unique characteristics and roles based on their location.
  • All embassies have a hidden dimension of espionage, and many countries use their embassies in the same fashion as China and Russia.
  • Diplomatic pouches can be any container with an embassy stamp on it.

36:31 🔍 Investigative journalists can have lifelong ramifications for those involved in political corruption and dark money, even if they don't see immediate results.

  • The government of Spain can intervene if they see containers coming in from North Korea, but there are limits to their ability to check them, and there are hidden worlds and dimensions where consequential things are happening that affect everyday life.
  • Can Western values push back against political corruption and dark money, which affects the US and Western Europe, and while journalists may not see immediate results, their investigative work can have lifelong ramifications for those involved.
  • The fight against corruption is a continuous push and pull, but the collaboration of multiple countries in the 1MDB scandal investigation proved to be effective in uncovering and preventing future corruption.
  • Jolo's attempts to influence the Trump Administration were unsuccessful, and a Chinese-American criminal is using a system called "flying money" to dramatically reduce the cost of laundering money for Latin American drug cartels.
  • Ancient systems like hawala and Chinese flying money are perfect for money laundering as they operate on a trust-based system and are used by wealthy individuals worldwide to transfer money without documentation or regulation.
  • Cryptocurrency is used by Russian organized crime and shadow banks to move money in and out of crypto without using typical establishment brokerages.

46:09 🚫 Sanctions work to make life difficult for corrupt countries, but they're not foolproof and those in power can still find ways to survive.

  • Sanctions do work to make life difficult for those countries, but they are not 100% effective and the people in power are still able to pillage and find ways to survive.
  • Knowing about the existence of corrupt networks and institutions is the first step towards neutralizing their impact.
  • Making it difficult for criminals to operate freely limits their ability to live in desirable locations and forces them to live in places like Dubai, making it harder for future generations to inherit their criminal fortunes.
  • Dark money is like dark matter in astrophysics, hidden and influencing us in many ways, making it important to understand and limit it to prevent potential consequences.
  • Understanding the influence of under money is crucial to understanding how the world works and making progress.


disappears in the desert sands of Syria, only a small group of military operatives knows its ultimate destination or why it has been stolen.

Their goal is no less than the restoration of America’s military and economic preeminence on the global stage.

Arcing from Manhattan’s finest apartments to Washington, D.C., from Middle Eastern war zones to private European bank vaults, Jay Newman’s Undermoney is a filled with jaw-dropping action. Brilliantly rendered with details only a sophisticated financial insider knows, it reveals the secret intentions and savage deeds of the world’s richest people.

More information: www.jaynewman.com