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Richard Behar      

Acclaimed International Business Investigative Journalist

Business reporter Richard Behar has garnered more than 20 major journalism awards over a career spanning three decades. He was called "one of the most dogged of our watchdogs" by the late Jack Anderson - a founding father of modern investigative reporting - as well as "the best writer of any investigative reporter I've ever worked with" by Fortune managing editor Rik Kirkland.

From 1982-2004, Behar worked on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune magazines. He has also done assignments for the BBC, CNN, and PBS. In 2005, he launched Project Klebnikov, a global media alliance committed to shedding light on the Moscow murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov and to furthering the investigative work that Paul began. (Members of Project K include Bloomberg, The Economist, Forbes and Vanity Fair.)

Behar's travels have taken him to more than 40 countries -- including within the sub-Sahara, where he penned a 24-page special report for Fast Company magazine in 2008 entitled "China Storms Africa." (The article won George Polk and Overseas Press Club awards.) Since late 2008, Behar has been at work on a book about Bernard Madoff, and -- in 2012 -- he returned to Forbes as its Contributing Editor (Investigations).

Major awards include the Gerald Loeb, Polk (twice), National Magazine, Overseas Press Club (twice), Daniel Pearl, and Worth Bingham Prize, among other honors -- on subjects ranging from terror financing in Karachi to counterfeiting in Beijing; from corporate wrongdoing on Wall Street to the Russian mob in Siberia. Behar wrote an acclaimed cover story in Time magazine on the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and was praised by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau for his award-winning articles exposing organized crime in New York City's garbage trade. Behar's work in the 1980s exposing corruption inside the IRS sparked a Congressional hearing that led to reforms, and his "The Karachi Connection," reported from Pakistan, exposed a logistics leader of the 9-11 attacks.

Behar was included among the 100 top business journalists of the 20th century by The Journalist and Financial Reporter, and was named Business Journalist of the Year in London in 2001. He also received the rarely bestowed Conscience-in-Media Award for "singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost" from the American Society of Journalists and Authors -- for a Time cover story on the Church of Scientology. In 2002, as part of CNN's Investigation Team, Behar received the National Headliner Award for "outstanding continuing coverage of attacks on America and their aftermath."

Behar was born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island. He is a graduate of New York University, where he has served on an advisory committee of NYU's business journalism masters program.

Speech Topics

How Corporate and Government Cybersecurity Is Failing—and What You Must Do About It

ichard Behar speaks about what businesses and governments are doing (and not doing) to secure computers, which is essential to national security given that we all are now interconnected.

His expertise in cybersecurity dates to 1997, when he was ahead of the curve on the subject of email security—with a cover story in Fortune magazine called "Who's Reading Your Email." For this award-winning exposé, which was used in college computer classrooms, Behar enlisted top-flight former Air Force computer security experts to hack a Fortune 500 company—with the firm's permission—to show how easy it was to do. He also spent days with one of the country’s most notorious computer hackers for a profile, soon after the hacker's home was raided by Secret Service.

Just after 9-11, Behar exposed a radical Arab website based in Texas, which had links to the Hamas terrorist group, that was raided by federal agents five days before the 9-11 attack. He then flew to Pakistan, where he reported two award-winning pieces (for Fortune and CNN), one of which studied the movement of money by radical groups throughout the banking world. A year ago, Behar was invited by the Prime Minister's Office in Israel for a private tour of that country's "Cyber City," a collection of buildings rising up from a desert city that may become the world's #1 hub for cybersecurity—both for businesses and governments. He has also been gathering data on how social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube are facilitating global jihad.

Capitalism in a Cold Climate: How to Navigate Inside Russia's Lawless and Treacherous Business World

How can Western businesses work and compete in today's Russia -- a country where the hottest trends are intellectual-property "squatting," raiding companies with armed private-security forces, "commissioning" criminal prosecutions for competitive advantages, and engaging in collusive litigation? How can investors learn what is truly going on in a country where 19 investigative journalists have been murdered since 2000? (Only one of those cases has been solved; the masterminds all walk free.)

Behar's award-winning articles on organized crime inside Russia's metals trade are widely considered the most penetrating examinations ever done of Russia's second-largest export industry. He will offer step-by-step advice on how investors can try and avoid the pitfalls, as well as demonstrate how Russian organized crime groups are morphing into transnational corporations -- and why all we better be worried about it. He can also discuss "Project Klebnikov," the investigative media alliance he launched after the 2004 murder in Moscow of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov.

China at Home and in Africa: The West's Moral and Economic Default

Recent State Department cables released by WikiLeaks expose the nature of China's economic march throughout Africa. One document quotes the U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs -- in rare candor -- describing China as "a very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals."

Behar's award-winning exposes have long documented this uncomfortable truth -- even as every American President since Nixon has embraced the same policy: Trade with China and time is on our side. But what if it's not true? What if we are only helping cement the Communist Party's grip on the nation? How can the West get out of this economic and ethical conundrum?

China's economy, at this stage of its development, is vastly corrupt in ways most Westerners can't imagine. The country is the world's largest counterfeiter of Western products -- and its economy would be seriously impacted if the Party honestly cracked down on those "fakes."

Meanwhile, from Algeria to Zambia, from aluminum on up the resource ladder to zinc, Behar will discuss an economic model of exploitation and corruption that is at once formidably efficient and tragically flawed -- and how China's new "scramble for Africa" is interlocked with America's economy to the detriment of the world's poorest citizens. On a planet that's being consumed by those who live on its surface, behind that Made-in-China tag at Wal-Mart and inside our iPods is a parasitical and mutually-reinforcing death spiral. With China now the world's second-largest economy (and gaining fast on the U.S.), we all need to ask if this matrix is now set in stone.


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