Underflow is a new work of serial fiction from The Browser. In it we shall meet money-launderers, bankers, headhunters, scientists, coders, central bankers, cryptocurrency tycoons, mobsters, oligarchs, murder victims, and innocent bystanders.
The principal figures in the early episodes of Underflow are Toomas Peters, an Estonian tech entrepreneur whose importance seems at first to lie in his wealth, but whose coding skills will prove far more crucial over time; and Lars Lipp, who is initially Peters's personal assistant, but who finds himself elevated almost by accident to a senior job in banking, where his particular skills are soon recognised by an international conspiracy of money-launderers.
All of the main characters and situations in Underflow are the product of the author's imagination. A few real people and places are referenced from time to time, but only for colour and context.
That said, the behaviour depicted in Underflow is real enough. Tens of billions of euros originating in Russia and Central Asia were laundered though Scandinavian banks in Estonia and Latvia in the 2010s, transiting the eurozone on their way to impenetrable tax havens. Much of the fictional drama in Underflow draws on the findings of an investigation into a decade of money-laundering at Swedbank conducted in 2019-2020 by the London law firm Clifford Chance. In his book Kleptopia, Tom Burgis gives an excellent account of the Russian and Central Asian corporate and criminal networks on whose behalf the Scandinavian banks were acting. — Robert Cottrell
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