The Sentry Mission

War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay.

 

The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Within East and Central Africa, which loses billions of dollars a year in illicit financial outflows, mainly from its extraordinary natural resource wealth, The Sentry focuses primarily on the conflict zone spanning Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. We aim to create significant financial consequences for kleptocrats, war criminals, and their international financial facilitators through network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, compliance actions by banks and other private companies, asset recovery, and other tools of economic and legal pressure. The Sentry engages intensively with policymakers, law enforcement officials, global banks, tech and mining companies, and other private sector entities around the world. We also support activist campaigns involving students, faith-based groups, celebrities, human rights organizations, and other concerned constituencies.

Since our launch in 2016, The Sentry has converted extensive investigative research into evidence-rich reports and dozens of dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption, violence, or serious human rights abuses. As a result, assets have been frozen, travel has been banned, money-laundering routes have been exposed and shut down, and individuals have been cut off from the international financial system. Much more needs to be done to alter the incentive structure from war to peace, but we are finally seeing consequences imposed on those orchestrating and benefiting from genocide, mass rape, ethnic cleansing, child soldier recruitment, and other crimes against humanity.

Following the money that funds atrocities and crimes against humanity

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.

The Sentry’s investigations produce analytical reporting that engages civil society and media, supports regulatory action and prosecutions, and provides policymakers with the information they require to take effective action.

The Sentry examines the techniques used to benefit financially from armed conflict and atrocities, including:

  • Convergence of licit and illicit systems—illicit actors conceal their operations and launder their profits through globalized systems of finance, trade, and transportation.
  • Regulatory and sanctions evasion—illicit actors find ways to adapt to and avoid international laws, sanctions, and regulations.
  • Disguised beneficial ownership—illicit actors employ increasingly sophisticated methods to disguise their true identities to avoid detection and exposure.
  • Money and commodities laundering – illicit actors launder money and commodities such as gold to disguise their criminal origins and move it through legitimate financial systems undetected.
  • Extractive industries and natural resource trafficking—illicit actors extract, tax, and sell natural resources to fund and sustain their operations.
  • Corruption and illicit financial flows—illicit actors compete violently to capture state resources and divert funds for their own personal enrichment and to finance their armed campaigns.
  • Security sector fraud and abuse—illicit actors manage state and military expenditures to fund off-budget activities with little-to-no transparency or accountability.
  • Elite financing and offshored assets—illicit actors abuse their power and position to accumulate significant wealth that is then laundered through offshore jurisdictions to evade detection.
  • War crimes and crimes against humanity – illicit actors orchestrate crimes against civilian populations in natural resource-rich territories — including enslavement, forced labor, and arbitrary arrests — as a key strategy for taking control over wealth and silencing dissent.

The Sentry’s ultimate objective is to alter the incentive structure of those benefiting financially and politically from conflict and mass atrocities. This will lend greater support to broader accountability measures as well as provide leverage to peace and human rights initiatives aimed at ending Africa’s deadliest conflicts.

The Sentry Team

Some investigators and other staff are not listed for security reasons.

George Clooney and John Prendergast

Co-Founders

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy

Brian focuses on conflict dynamics in Eastern Africa. His research has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He previously worked as a journalist and as a project coordinator at The Centre for International Governance Innovation in Canada.

Zain Ahmad, Esq, Legal Counsel

Suliman Baldo, Senior Advisor

Suliman advises on policy matters relating to Sudan. He previously served as Africa director at the International Center for Transitional Justice and at International Crisis Group. He was the UN’s independent human rights expert on Mali and served as commissioner in the independent, international commission of inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire.

Brad Brooks-Rubin, Managing Director

Brad is also The Sentry’s general counsel. Brad previously served as the State Department’s special advisor for Conflict Diamonds, an attorney-advisor at the Treasury Department’s Office of Chief Counsel (Foreign Assets Control), and at the Gemological Institute of America.

Willem Cleven, Senior Development Manager

Willem coordinates The Sentry’s fundraising and partnerships efforts. Before joining The Sentry, Willem managed public sector partnerships at the International Center for Transitional Justice. He previously worked in Iraq and Ukraine for the French humanitarian organization ACTED.

John Dell'Osso, Senior Investigator

John focuses on grand corruption and financial crime linked to the Democratic Republic of Congo. His background is in investigating illicit financial flows, auditing government spending, and exploring the national security implications of corruption.

Mara Gassmann, Esq., Legal Counsel

Douglas Gillison, Senior Investigator

Douglas is an investigative journalist focused on financial crime, human rights, law enforcement, and corruption. His work has appeared in Time, Foreign Policy, The Village Voice, The Intercept, and elsewhere. He previously served as an economics editor for Agence France-Presse.

Carlton Greene, Esq., Legal Counsel

Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications

Greg leads all media relations, crisis response, creative production, and communications programs. His career spans work and expertise in multiple sectors, including technology, entertainment, intellectual property, the environment, arms control, human rights, and international security.

Nir Kaissar, Financial Advisor

Nir Kaissar, CFA, is the founder of Unison Advisors, an asset management firm, and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He has worked as a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell and a consultant at Ernst & Young.

Michelle Kendler-Kretsch, Investigator

Michelle is an investigator on the DRC team. She specializes in developing projects for which technology and data advance investigative work. Previously, she was an analyst focused on sanctions-related risk on a portfolio including Africa and Latin America.

Elizabeth Krisher, Editorial Manager

Elizabeth oversees The Sentry’s editorial and review processes, manages the production of all external products, and edits reports and communications. She has over 10 years of experience in publishing, content creation, and project management for diverse international businesses.

Debra LaPrevotte, Senior Investigator

Debra joined The Sentry team after a 20-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Debra retired as a supervisory special agent on the international corruption unit and was one of the FBI's experts in international money laundering and asset recovery. Debra has seized more than $1 billion dollars in corrupt proceeds.

Lee Levine, Esq., Legal Counsel

Sasha Lezhnev, Deputy Director of Policy

Sasha focuses on conflict and governance in central Africa. He previously worked at Global Witness and the International Crisis Group and for two and a half years in Uganda on LRA issues. He is the author of the book Crafting Peace.

Jennifer Lonnquest, Senior Manager of Digital Communications and Creative Services

Jen leads The Sentry’s digital communications initiatives and oversees the organization's digital platforms. Before joining The Sentry, she worked in international development, public diplomacy, and non-profit marketing.

Praveen Madhiraju, Esq., Legal Counsel

J.R. Mailey, Director of Investigations

J.R. oversees The Sentry’s investigations into financial crimes and corruption linked to violence and atrocities. He previously worked with the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the Department of Defense.

Roger Matthews, Legal Counsel

Roger is a partner at Dentons in London, specializing in international sanctions and trade. He previously served as a sanctions specialist at the European Commission and as a legal advisor on sanctions to HM Treasury in the UK.

Hilary Mossberg, Director of Illicit Finance Policy

Hilary leads the illicit finance policy team focused on disrupting global corruption-related financial flows and was previously the AML/CFT specialist for Africa. She has over a decade of experience in illicit finance and national security and was formerly a senior advisor for terrorist financing and financial crimes at the US Department of the Treasury.

Constance M. Pendleton, Esq., Legal Counsel

Connie Pendleton is a media lawyer who for 23 years has represented newspapers, magazines, book and online publishers, podcasters, cable networks, broadcasters, journalists, and not for profit organizations in their First Amendment matters.

Madeline Robinson, Communications Associate

Madeline manages The Sentry’s media and digital communications needs relating to the website, press and social media, and email communications. Her work prior to joining The Sentry focused on good governance, gender equality, and human trafficking.

Denisse Rudich, Senior Advisor

Denisse is responsible for setting up engagement and advocacy frameworks in the UK and Europe. She has over 15 years of experience working in financial crime prevention with financial institutions, regulators, and start-ups and provides independent analysis at G7 and G20 Summits.

Ian Schwab, Director of Regional Policy and Advocacy

Ian is responsible for providing strategic direction and results for the organization's legislative and regional policy agenda. He previously worked as the associate director of advocacy for American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and as a community organizer for Illinois People's Action.

Stephen Shahida, Esq., Legal Counsel

Jere Sullivan & the Edelman Team, Pro Bono Communications Support

Jere serves as Edelman’s International Vice Chairman and has provided events support, media relations, and content development for The Sentry. He regularly counsels multinational companies and non-profits on developing impactful communications programs.

Megha Swamy, Deputy Director of Illicit Finance Policy

Megha engages private and public sector stakeholders on tools to disrupt corruption-related money flows. She was previously the deputy director of communications at the Enough Project and The Sentry and has a decade of experience working in research and communications.

Michaela Taychert, Administrative Associate

Michaela coordinates business and administrative needs for The Sentry and provides executive support to the founding director and the operations and development teams. She previously taught English in South Korea and received her BA from UW-Madison.

Leita Walker, Esq., Legal Counsel

Oliver Windridge, Senior Advisor

Oliver focuses on UK and EU illicit finance policy. He is a British lawyer with over 12 years of experience practicing international human rights and international criminal law, including over seven years serving at the United Nations international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Board Members

Bonnie Abaunza, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Lambros, Brad Pitt, John Prendergast, David Sagal, Sia Sanneh

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Special thanks to Mary Beth Goodman, former Senior Adviser, for her significant work in building the foundation of the Sentry.

Core Supporters

The Sentry couldn't exist without the support
of the following people and institutions:

FOUNDATIONS
Annenberg Foundation
Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Foundation
Bridgeway Foundation
CapCon Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Clooney Foundation for Justice
The Good Lie Fund of Tides Foundation
Humanity United
The Hunter Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Nationale Postcode Lotterij
Newman's Own Foundation
Open Square Charitable Fund
UK Postcode Lottery
Pittsburgh Foundation

Stichting Giustra International Foundation

Swedish Postcode Foundation
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
National Endowment for Democracy
INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILY FOUNDATIONS

Bonnie Abaunza

Carl Allen

Dietrich Ayala

Mike Bandstra

Kristen Bell

Bylo Chacon Foundation

Ann Chaitovitz

Don & Bridgid Cheadle Philanthropy Fund

Cynthia Cwik

Dawn DeNoon

Paul DeNoon

Terri Doyle Becks

Annie Duke

Jill Goldman and Jon Reiss

Ryan Gosling

Michael Grabow

Julie Katzman

Kells Family Charitable Foundation

John Lambros

John Lamonica

Mikaya Family Foundation

Tammy Miller

Walter E.D. Miller Charitable Fund

Rebecca Minkoff

Sherri Nelson

Jacqueline and Breon Peace

John Prendergast

Zeke Rabkin

Rob Rotberg

Dave Sagal

Gayle Smith

Defne Tabori

Judy Taylor

Todd Wagner

Weintraub Family Foundation

Ron Willoner

Marc Winkelman

Robin Wright

Gregory Yeary

Hans Zimmer

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The Sentry also offers thanks to the hundreds of people who have shared critical information in order to advance the mission.

The Sentry

The Sentry Video

We want to
follow the money and find out how mass atrocities are funded.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

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For general inquiries, email us at info@thesentry.org.