The recent uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa have revolved around one common theme - a popular desire for freedom from repression.
But there has often been an economic undercurrent too. The lavish lifestyles enjoyed by dictators have fuelled widespread anger at the way national assets have been looted for the benefit of the few.
So what happens to all this wealth once it is spirited out of the country? Can it ever be recovered? And why does the international banking system make it so easy for corruption to flourish?
We asked veteran financial journalist, Steve Levinson, to look for answers.