Richard Behar Profile Photo

Richard Behar

Keynote Speaker

Acclaimed International Business Investigative Journalist and Author

Richard Behar is one of the world’s most respected investigative journalists, having won more than 20 major journalism awards. His work spans Russian organized crime, Wall Street fraud, and strategies for business success in some of the world’s most corrupt and dangerous regions. Behar has tackled issues from biased media coverage of the Middle East to Israeli-Palestinian high-tech ventures.

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Richard Behar Profile Photo

Richard Behar, the Contributing Editor of Investigations for Forbes magazine, was called “one of the most dogged of our watchdogs” by the late Jack Anderson, a founding father of modern investigative reporting. Over a four-decade career, he has tackled it all — from planet-altering crimes in China to transnational business mafias in Russia; from Donald Trump’s business dealings with a mob-connected hustler to fraud on Wall Street; from bribery in sub-Saharan Africa to anti-Israel bias by Western mainstream media peers; from Israeli-Palestinian high-tech co-ventures to terror financing in Pakistan; and from pharmaceutical espionage in Cyprus to various global crises. He explains with captivating detail and crystal-clear eloquence what is happening on the ground in some of the world’s most lawless developing countries — and how people might achieve success there without sacrificing their ethics (or their lives). His book, Madoff: The Final Word, was released in July 2024 by Avid Reader Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Behar worked on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune magazines, and did TV 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.

Behar’s awards include the Gerald Loeb, Polk (twice), National Magazine, Overseas Press Club (twice), Daniel Pearl, Worth Bingham Prize, and the rarely-bestowed Conscience-in-Media Award by the American Society of Journalists & Authors. He was praised by the late Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau for his award-winning articles exposing organized crime in New York City’s garbage trade. His “The Karachi Connection,” reported from Pakistan just a month after 9-11, exposed a logistics leader of those terror attacks. He is also the only known journalist to have read the classified “Phoenix Memo,” the infamous pre-9/11 FBI document which warned the FBI about Osama bin Laden supporters enrolling in flight-training schools across the U.S.

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Richard Behar Profile Photo
Richard Behar

Richard Behar on The War on Mainstream Media

Richard Behar’s Speech Topics

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

    Richard 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.

    He wrote a definitive story for Forbes magazine (May 2016) about a clandestine cybersecurity military squad in Israel called “Unit 8200.” Behar explains why the unit is “probably the best school in the world for entrepreneurship.” He also wrote a cover story for Forbes about under-the-radar ventures in high-tech between Israelis and Palestinians.

    Behar’s 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. Recently, 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.

  • Hating Israel

    With traditional journalism watchdog groups like the Columbia Journalism Review now asleep at the switch, traditional investigative reporting may be the only way to can stop the downward spiral in journalism standards on the Israeli-Palestinian and other Middle East conflicts.   Behar is one of the only highly-regarded mainstream media reporters who is deeply exposing bias, laziness and sloppiness in the Western media world’s coverage of this region.  He’s done it in Forbes, and more recently in the Mideast Dig, which he and his growing top-notch team aim to become a multilingual, multilingual and multinational investigative news operation.  The Dig’s focus includes Iran; the financing of global terrorism; Islamic extremism; organized crime; the boycott-Israel movement; and the many under-the-radar business ventures between the region’s Jews and Arabs.

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

    State Department cables 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.

  • 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 two 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.

Works by Richard Behar

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