This podcast series features

in-depth interviews

with a wide range of corruption experts,

on questions such as:


What have we learned from 20+ years of (anti)corruption research? 

Why and how does power corrupt?

Which theories help to make sense of corruption?

What can we do to manage corruption?

How to recover stolen assets?


With a discussion around these and many other questions that fascinate us about corruption research we hope to reach and engage with a broad audience.


The guest so far have included Pulitzer Prize winning journalistsworld-leading corruption scholars, chief Economists of Development Banks, former FBI agents, creative and passionate anti-corruption practitioners and high ranking corruption investigators.


You can subscribe to the Podcast via Soundcloud, StitcherSpotify or Itunes



Feel free to get in touch with the show via:


Twitter: @KickBackGAP

Facebook: Facebook/KickBackGAP


KickBackGAP is a podcast project founded by...
- Nils Köbis
- Christopher Starke
- Matthew Stephenson

 Special thanks to Kayhan Golkar for composing our jingle "Points"

and Jonathan Kleinpass for his technical support. 


KickBack - The Global Anticorruption Podcast

23. Andrés Hernández on protest, populism, and the anti-corruption referendum in Colombia (Mon, 27 Jan 2020)
We welcome Andrés Hernández (@hmandres2011), executive director of Transparency International Colombia (Transparencia por Colombia), to this week’s episode of KickBack - The Global Anti-Corruption Podcast. 1. Corruption in the judiciary system The first part of the interview focuses on the challenge of corruption in the Colombian judiciary system. Andrés outlines that according to the latest results of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, 40% believe that the judiciary system is strongly affected by corruption (see link to full resource in extra reading, GCB, 2019). The two outline how tackling corruption in the judiciary might bring about a trade-off between accountability (e.g. disciplining judges) and judicial independence. Andrés clarifies how independence and opacity are often confused. The two discuss limitations in the current appointment procedures of high ranking public positions at the state level - you can learn the meaning behind the Colombia saying “Yo te llego, tu me ligues”. Andrés outlines how more transparency would help to avoid patronage. 2. Anti-Corruption Referendum in Colombia The second part deals with the consulta popular - best known as the Colombian anti-corruption referendum. Andrés describes the unprecedented mobilization of the Colombian people against corruption resulting in almost 12 million people voting, more votes than the most recent presidential election. Andrés points out that the result of the referendum, although not legally binding, are politically binding to instigate change. Find out why Andrés, even though he was not excited about the concrete content of the seven points of reform, he was still optimistic in the wake of the referendum. (Sidenote: For some fun music input on the referendum Reggaeton de la corrupción (featuring Antanas Mockus), check out the links in the extra reading material) 3. Potential pitfalls of public outcry against corruption At the time when the interview was recorded - December 2019 - protests occurred in Bogotá and other places across Colombia. Reason enough to discuss the potential and pitfalls of anti-corruption protests ongoing. Andrés emphasizes why and how protests can be an important step towards strengthening institutions, yet also the dangers it might bring about that become apparent when observing the changes in Colombia’s neighboring countries. Andrés also voices his concern about an international anti-corruption court, why it might distract attention away from structural issues but placing too much hope in sanctions that do not instigate transformation and why it might not be pragmatic to realize. Instead, he argues it would be better to focus limited resources into stronger international capacities, stronger national judiciary systems, and for strengthening the international commitment against transnational crime. 4. Reflexion on changes in anti-corruption in the last 20 years In the final part of the episode, Andrés looks back on the last two decades of anti-corruption efforts in Colombia. He points out how corruption has become more complex, covered up more extensively, and why such new forms of corruption require tools. On the positive side, Andrés notes that Colombia now has stronger checks and balances and applauds the more vibrant civil society, brave journalists engaged in anti-corruption.
>> Read More

22. Charles Davidson on kleptocracy, beneficial ownership and reputation laundering (Mon, 13 Jan 2020)
New year This week on KickBack: Charles Davidson former Executive Director of the Kleptocracy Initiative at Hudson Institute, Publisher & CEO of The American Interest Magazine. The interview covers how the book Capitalism's Achilles Heel by Raymond Baker inspired Charles’ impressive work. For example Charles was involved in: - together with Francis Fukuyama founding of American Interest Magazin: - initiating the think tank, “Global Financial Integrity”: - creating the “The FACT Coalition” which brought together organizations become an activist coalition on issues of corporate transparency. A legislative influence group tackling against beneficial ownership: - serving as an executive producer of the movie “We are not broke”, that premiered at Sundance festival: The interview pursues on more details on beneficial ownership, how International crime and kleptocracy have become an increasing threat to democracy, and the push for greater corporate transparency in the US, spurred by the #PanamaPapers. Charles chimes in on the concrete proposal of beneficial ownership registries, how it might depend on the style of capitalism in a given society, outlining that that an important prerequisite consists of law enforcement agencies having access. Charles outlines how the essential element of transparency around beneficial ownership would be making the data available for governments yet also outlines that publicly available information facilitates the work of journalists. The next segment deals with the details around kleptocracy and how it is linked to authoritarian regimes. The basic model across several countries is: The regime loots resources at home and then take the money out and store it in the west (using anonymous companies etc.) to safeguard their money, leading the US to become increasingly kleptocratized. Charles outlines the importance of understanding that “The fact that we welcome authoritarian money into the west, means that we are incentivizing authoritarianism.” The two discuss the challenges of preventing kleptocracy and how the Magnitsky act ( might provide a first step into that direction. The two describe how corruption for the effectiveness of development aid. Finally, the interview covers the concept of reputation laundering, which describes how gifts and donations to educational institutions or museums by oligarchs intend to uphold a positive reputation towards oligarchs. The two unpack the typical step-by-step process for reputation laundering and discuss how universities can protect themselves from such influence. Online Articles: Human Rights Watch: “The Anniversary that Shouldn't Be: 40 Years of President Obiang in Equatorial Guinea “ The Guardian: “Son of equatorial guineas president convicted of corruption in France” Books: Raymond W. Baker - Capitalism's Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System
>> Read More

Media Coverage

The podcast has been featured on the Global Anti-Corruption Blog (here) and the Center for International Private Enterprises, Anti-Corruption & Governance Center's Business and Integrity Blog (here).