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Hello from behind the curtain

December 28, 2016

As of April 2016, I’m the Washington D.C.-based reporter for Moneylaundering.com.

I cover financial crime, especially money laundering, terrorist financing, international corruption and sanctions violations.

I started this job the day the Panama Papers story broke. You can say it was baptism-by-fire.

The website is behind a strict paywall, so I can no longer re-post my writing here.

I know you miss me, so I figured I’d at least say hello.

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China through the American prism

April 9, 2016

Originally published in Aspenia Online of the Aspen Institute Italia

China’s economic and financial troubles over the last several months, combined with its growing weight on the international stage, make this country a sensitive focus point in the United States. The ongoing Presidential campaign has spurred all sorts of provocative anti-Beijing talk, both on the left and on the right. However, American officials take a more cautious view.

They are concerned above all about China’s uncertain long-term outlook. Its monumental move away from a more investment & export-driven economy toward a more consumption-driven model, and from a planned economy to a more market-oriented system, is nothing short of a tectonic shift and it comes with all the tensions and tribulations that go with it, along with an unpredictable outcome. This evolution is both thrilling and disorienting for Washington, which has little in the way of tools to influence it and therefore can only watch as it slowly unfolds.

Read more…

Corporate Finance In Retreat

March 18, 2016
Originally published in Global Finance Magazine

Global banks may be de-risking, but what are the implications for their corporate customers in those markets deemed undesirable as a result of the growing regulatory burden?


With enforcement actions raining down on them—and large fines to boot—the world’s largest banks seem to be getting regulators’ message on compliance. To adapt to today’s more rigorous regulatory environment, which authorities in the United States and Europe put in place in response to the global financial crisis of 2008 and to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, banks have reduced their leverage and risk tolerance. The actions of the banks may make the global financial system less of a “casino” than it once was, but are banks taking things to the opposite extreme, to the detriment of corporate treasuries and correspondent banks, particularly in emerging markets?

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New Economy Minister Faces Rocky Path

March 17, 2016
Originally published in Global Finance Magazine

With Japan still struggling to achieve economic lift-off, longtime Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) hand Nobuteru Ishihara took over as the country’s Economy minister in late January.

Will Nobuteru Ishihara rise to the challenge?

Prime minister Shinzo Abe named Ishihara to his cabinet after his predecessor, Akira Amari, resigned amid a bribery scandal. Despite Tokyo’s aggressive “Abenomics” policies, Japan hasn’t been able to escape low inflation and weak growth.

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French Pension Fund Looks To Expand Investment Universe

March 16, 2016
Originally published in Global Finance Magazine

In today’s low-yield environment, institutional investors’ quest for higher investment returns has taken on new meaning.

So when the French government relaxed the rules as to what pension funds could invest in, ERAFP, the French civil service supplementary pension scheme—one of the world’s largest public pension funds—leaped at the chance to diversify its portfolio of investments. ERAFP has 4.5 million beneficiaries and contributions of more than €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) per annum.

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‘SIFI’ Label For Nonfinancial Firms In Jeopardy

March 16, 2016
Originally published in Global Finance Magazine

American insurance giant MetLife has doubled down on its efforts to skirt the heavier regulatory burden that comes with being labeled a Systemically Important Financial Institution.


Under the Dodd-Frank Act, SIFIs are deemed to pose a serious risk to the real economy if they were to fail and have to meet higher capital requirements and develop detailed contingency plans to be followed in the event of a failure.

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Clinton and Trump: the frontrunners who still can’t unify their parties

March 16, 2016
AspeniaInternal

Originally published in Aspenia Online of the Aspen Institute Italia

Although they have been described as widely unpredictable and changeable, the 2016 US presidential primaries already seem set on their course only a month and a half since kicking off in Iowa. Yet, in one of this year’s many paradoxes, their final outcome is still uncertain, particularly on the Republican front.

The delegate-rich vote in Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois confirmed what has been evident for a while: Donald Trump is far and away the favorite candidate of Republican voters while Hillary Clinton is the top choice among Democrats. On March 15th, she took Florida, Illinois – by a nose, North Carolina and Ohio. In her victory speech her tone was, once again, very much that of the Democratic-nominee in waiting.”Our commander-in-chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it,” Clinton said with a jab to Trump, who is now increasingly likely to be her opponent in the general elections. “When we hear a candidate embracing torture, that doesn’t make him strong, that makes him wrong!”

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Americans, Brace Yourselves for the Bunga Bunga

March 16, 2016

Like Silvio Berlusconi, Donald Trump is entertaining the masses. He’s also damaging his country’s democracy for a generation.

Now that Super Tuesday has brought the Republican nomination, and possibly the White House, within the grasp of Donald Trump, my home country of Italy may have a few lessons to offer America in dealing with his particular brand of leadership. No, not from our time under Mussolini — though Il Duce’s unexpected relevance in an American presidential campaign in 2016 is indeed unsettling. I’m thinking rather of what Italian politics suffered during the 1990s and 2000s, when we elected a billionaire with an abrasive style and a populist flair to govern us. The name of our Trump was Silvio Berlusconi and — spoiler alert — he did not make Italy great again.

Click to continue reading my piece in Foreign Policy

A clearer path in the 2016 presidential race

March 3, 2016

Originally published in Aspenia Online of the Aspen Institute Italia

AspenInterna/Mar2016

After running on parallel tracks for several weeks, the Democratic and Republican primaries diverged on Super Tuesday to go each in its own direction. While the Grand old party (Gop) accelerated toward a Donald Trump train wreck, the Democratic establishment put the brakes on the insurgent campaign of Bernie Sanders. As things stand today, American voters are destined for as contentious and divisive a general election as ever, the face-off of two opponents (Trump and Hillary Clinton) who couldn’t be more unlike one another. No doubts such showdown would send sparks flying.

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Business Gets An App For That

March 3, 2016
Originally published in Global Finance Magazine

Smart corporates are using mobile apps to collect real-time data, analyze it and feed it to employees, who can respond immediately. Companies that neglect these tools could find themselves at a disadvantage.


Kushwaha, Warburg Pincus: “The millennial generation has never worked in a desktop environment,” so they expect their employers to have mobile tools.

First smartphones and tablets transformed the consumer world. Then the Internet of Things (IoT) disrupted the corporate space by putting physical objects, from houses to heart monitors, online. Now, enterprise mobile applications are bringing the two technologies together. Deployed internally within a company, these apps overhaul business processes by leveraging Big Data and making its insights accessible—and actionable—anywhere and in real time.

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