Founded in 2016 by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a U.S.-based, non-profit research and policy organization that “seeks to disable multinational predatory networks that benefit from violent conflict, repression, and kleptocracy.” Importantly,it employs a corporate capture analysis,albeit regarding the “illicit actors [that] compete violently to capture state resources and divert funds for their own personal enrichment and to finance their armed campaigns.”

  • “The Sentry aims to alter the warped incentive structures that continually undermine peace and good governance. Our investigations follow the money as it is laundered from war zones to financial centers around the world. We provide evidence and strategies for governments, banks, and law enforcement to hold the perpetrators and enablers of violence and corruption to account.”

  • “(…) The Sentry produces hard-hitting investigative reports and dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption and violence. We advocate for the use of tools of financial and legal pressure, including anti-money laundering and illicit finance measures, targeted network sanctions, criminal prosecutions, compliance actions by banks and other private companies, and asset recovery. As a result of our work, money laundering routes have been exposed and shut down, assets have been frozen, travel has been banned, and corrupt networks have been cut off from the international financial system. Through strategic partnerships with governments, global banks, and other private and public organizations, The Sentry has succeeded in creating real consequences for many of the officials and commercial actors perpetuating and profiting from war, mass atrocities, and other human rights abuses.”

  • “In order to track and analyze how armed conflict and atrocities are financed, sustained, and monetized, The Sentry uses open source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network data analysis technology, and works in partnership with local and international civil society organizations, journalists, and governments.”

An example of one of its most relevant investigations is “The Backchannel. State Capture and Bribery in Congo’s Deal of the Century.” Thanks to a leak of banking records, evidence was revealed about two major players in China’s industrial sector gaining access to vast mineral deposits in the Congo. The leak reveals opaque arrangements surrounding a long-term project that concealed illegal and immoral practices. This report, like others, is based on interviews with individuals directly involved in the case, documentary analysis (including direct requests for information from involved financial entities), as well as “forensic financial analysis” (including financial flow analysis).

In “Architects of Terror: The Wagner Group’s Blueprint for State Capture in the Central African Republic,” The Sentry investigates a case in the Central African Republic where a multinational private military company, The Wagner Group, seizes control of a portion of the State’s military apparatus and mining activities. The company exports the extracted minerals to neighboring countries and other continents, effectively exerting influence over key sectors of the economy. Importantly, The Wagner Group maintains ties with the Russian government, leading to concerns of State-sponsored interference. This case underscores the complex dynamics of corporate capture in the Global South, raising significant human rights concerns for the local population and evoking the discussion on “development capture”.

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