The secretive Bilderberg Group gathers for its annual meeting next week, which this year takes place in Turin, Italy.

A collective of elite North American and European politicians, business leaders, financiers and academics, the group has attracted a good deal of suspicion over the last half-century, with conspiracy theorists confidently asserting that its members are plotting the New World Order and are hell-bent on global domination.

Protesters who believe the Bilderbergers represent a “shadow world government” regularly picket their yearly meet-ups, creating a need for high security at all times, but attendees insist the group is simply a debating society taking place outside the glare of the political spotlight.

The group publishes its guest list the day before its annual get together – between 120 and 150 are invited by its steering committee – along with a list of the subjects they intend to discuss as a gesture towards transparency. This typically consists of broad issues like macroeconomic concerns, the threat of terrorism and cyber-security.

No minutes are taken, however, and the outcome of their discussions are not made public, hence the assumption that they are a sinister cabal of the rich and powerful with something to hide.

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