Dark Money and Private Spies
My jaw dropped more than once reading Everett Stern’s story, Dark Money and Private Spies. Telling the tale of how he became the HSBC whistleblower, I was blown away by the cards Stern was thrown and the unwavering courage he possessed. If you like true stories about fraud, money laundering, surveillance, and espionage, you will really enjoy this book.
Stern had a complex childhood. Although riddled with much good, he still faced quite a few life-changing circumstances. Between the burning down of his home, being bullied for his stutter, and losing his best friend in a car accident, Stern went through a lot before he became an adult. Undeniably, the hardest circumstance he went through at this time was losing his best friend. Stern writes that at sixteen he hit rock bottom, refusing to even get out of bed and sleeping for days on end. Fortunately, through this horrific tragedy, he finds his purpose – to stop injustice and fight for what’s right.
This purpose is what fuels Stern’s determination to take down HSBC later on in his life. After working as an intern on Wall Street, Stern decides that kind of lifestyle is not one he can sustain. Therefore, he moves on to college, and eventually in search of his first, full-time job. Although unqualified, he applies at HSBC to be an Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer and gets the phone call to interview just minutes later. Ignoring obvious red flags, Stern takes the position and soon realizes that HSBC is beyond corrupt. Both his colleagues and supervisors do not actually file SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports) about activity that is clearly suspicious. No one actually looked into the alerts they were getting, rather just blindly pressed the “clear” button. Stern is quick to notice that it seems HSBC purposefully hires people who have no idea what they are doing to fund terrorism, drug cartels, and other highly illegal organizations. With HSBC’s international presence, officers like Stern were funding enemies all over the world. Needless to say, after realizing the gravity of this, Stern questions his supervisors who basically tell him to be quiet and just do his job. However, with a “why” of fighting injustice, Stern rightly refuses to go down that easily. From this moment, he takes drastic action to take down HSBC, including contacting the CIA and becoming the HSBC whistleblower. Stern continues to fight HSBC to this day (an organization somehow still running) in addition to many other personal accomplishments. An absolutely incredible story, I highly encourage you to dive into Stern’s story riddled with secrets, mystery, and surprises.
|Page Count||159 pages|
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|Category||Current Events & Politics|