Story by Melissa Keane

  • The majority of the world’s visible wealth has illicit or illegitimate sources
  • The larger the source the more difficult it is to normalise
  • We are now in the data and technology revolution

Softbank is coined with many so called champions of Silicone Valley. From Uber to the more recently controversial Wework.

I sat with a renowned expert in money laundering and conversions. Generally, money can be cleansed on a large scale by one giving the funds to a capital entity through an offshore account, having the entity give loans at exorbitant interest rates and re-pay sums directly coined as interest payments or investments. The other way is simply to mix illicit sums with that of small ordinary businesses that are cashflow heavy. The problem with the second option is that it requires a massive network to clean millions and is difficult to monitor and manage.

Facebook, google and amazon have led a generation into an arena where a start-up can go from 0 to a million dollars in sales in a one month. A feat unprecedented. It is easy to see how this can be attractive to any investor.

Are we all naive to think all these investors come from legtimate sources. Indeed a large amount may but no bank or investment company should be accused of money laundering easily. It requires extensive forensic audits and trails. None of which currently exists.

We must admit though that something smells off.

Uber so a fledgling IPO and Wework did not even go public. Both these entities were hailed to be the future in their respective fields.

With the disappointments the question remains looming…will Silicone Valley continue to be a hub for billion dollar investments no matter their uncertainty. Most judge the success of the big corporations on the success of those around or providing support services to them. This is hardly the truth.

In fact the hardware nextdoor to the roofing company may well be making a loss. Market dynamics are much more complex.

Let us hope this be a lesson for investors and not ‘lucreation’-a term coined by jawdropworthy news for something where its lucrative look and potential has been inflated or falsely created.

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