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Spain Princess Testifies in Historic Fraud Probe

Spain Princess Testifies in Historic Fraud Probe | Global Corruption |
Spain's Princess Cristina testified Saturday in a historic judicial hearing aimed at helping determine whether she and her husband illegally used company funds for personal expenses, including lavish parties at their modernist Barcelona mansion. Hundreds of protesters blew shrieking...
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Global Corruption
Corruption is a particularly viral form of cancer. It is caught here and there but it reappears somewhere else as soon as vigilance is relaxed. It is not eliminated, just driven underground. The corrupt merely suspend their operations temporarily. It lingers, hovering always in the background for its next opportunity.<br>                                                                         - Gerald E. Caiden <br>
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Corruption Eruption E-Magazine > > > "On Planet Corruption every day a new Eruption"

Corruption Eruption E-Magazine >   >  >            "On Planet Corruption every day a new Eruption" | Global Corruption |

*** Rampant corruption of Putin’s Russia is just devastating
*** The Double Sting - A power struggle between Russia’s rival security agencies.
*** People smuggling: how it works, who benefits and how it can be stopped
*** Latin America’s Anti-Corruption Crusade

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Brazil court hits Rousseff again, fueling impeachment talk

Brazil court hits Rousseff again, fueling impeachment talk | Global Corruption |
"The accounts are not a condition where they can be approved. We recommend their rejection," the lead judge, Augusto Nardes, said after the court's panel voted unanimously.

The government says it did nothing illegal and that it was merely juggling funds in line with previous practices.

The court's ruling, which next goes to Congress, was likely to give powerful impetus to Rousseff's congressional opponents, led by the scandal-plagued speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, who has repeatedly threatened to push for impeachment.

Late Tuesday, another judicial body, the electoral court, or TSE, ruled in favor of probing alleged illegalities in Rousseff's 2014 re-election campaign.

That ruling will not immediately lead to sanctions, instead opening the door to a messy legal and political battle that in theory could result in Rousseff's narrow 2014 victory being declared invalid -- and new elections being organized.

Especially worryingly for Rousseff was that one of the allegations in the complaint brought to the TSE by the opposition PSDB party was that some donations to the president's re-election coffers were linked in part to the massive Petrobras corruption scandal shaking the country.

Rousseff chaired Petrobras, the state oil giant, during the main period of the kickback and political payoff scandal that cost the company more than 2 billion in 2014.
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Greek General Inspector: Corruption Costs the Country 33 Bln Euros Each Year

Greek General Inspector: Corruption Costs the Country 33 Bln Euros Each Year | Global Corruption |
“Corruption is widespread in the Greek society and in order to combat it, political will – that does not exist – is required,” General Inspector of Public Administration Leandros Rakintzis was quoted as saying.

Rakintzis continued by stating corruption costs Greece 33 billion euros every year. Therefore, provided that corruption did not exist for 10 years, Greece’s debt would have been eliminated.

However, he said that the corruption cost has been reduced as a result of the economic crisis. For example, before the memoranda, doctors demanded up to 5,000 euros from their patients, while the relevant amount has been reduced to 300 euros.

He also referred to “sinful” public works such as the Sparta motorway. The contractor received the total amount of the work’s budget (17 million euros), but the road was never constructed and the country is now under threat to pay a high fine to the EU.

Rakintzis argued that in order to tackle corruption the people’s attitude should change adding the need for political will. “The government announced that they will crackdown on corruption, but nothing has been done so far,” he underlined.
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World Bank confirms probe into corruption scandal involving Hitachi | Shanghai Daily

The World Bank has acceded to a request to investigate the alleged unlawful activity in influencing the awarding of contracts by South African state-run electricity utility Eskom to Japanese Hitachi Ltd, it was announced on Wednesday.

World Bank Integrity Vice President, Leonard McCarthy has confirmed that the bank is looking into the matter and assessing "whether World Bank funds were put at risk due to the actions of the parties identified in the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) civil action,"the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said.

Last Wednesday, the DA urged the World Bank to investigate the corruption scandal surrounding Hitachi and Chancellor House, a front-company of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Under a deal with Eskom, Hitachi was to provide boilers for the Medupi and Kusile power stations in South Africa.

Hitachi agreed to pay 19 million U.S. dollars to the SEC to settle charges of corrupt payments to ANC's Chancellor House, according to the DA.

The contracts were subsequently paid for with a loan provided by the World Bank to Eskom, with the effect that World Bank funds ended up in ANC coffers, the DA alleges.

The DA says the World Bank is suspected of effectively bankrolling the ANC through their share in Hitachi via Chancellor House.

The Hitachi tender has cost South Africa dearly. The failure by Hitachi to deliver on their contractual obligations has been one of the underlying reasons for the length delay in brining Medupi online, resulting in countless job losses and cost the economy billions in lost revenue due to prolonged load shedding, according to the DA.
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Brazil - Federal Court of Accounts Rejects Government's 2014 Finances for Fiscal Maneuvering

Brazil - Federal Court of Accounts Rejects Government's 2014 Finances for Fiscal Maneuvering | Global Corruption |
President Dilma Rousseff had her government finances for 2014 unanimously rejected by the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) on Wednesday (7). The court ruled that the President did not adhere to the Constitution and other laws regarding public spending.

Although there will be no immediate consequences for Rousseff, her political situation becomes yet more complicated.

The impeachment request under analysis today in the lower house of Congress is based in part upon the government's fiscal maneuvering, which was cited by the TCU as one of the reasons the accounts were rejected.

The government did everything to postpone the judgement, but it could not get the session suspended in the Supreme Court. It also tried and failed to get the TCU to replace the minister Augusto Nardes, who brought the case, accusing him of bias.

The TCU acts like external auditors who analyze financial statements of companies, checking that the government adhered to legislation in administering its revenues and expenses.

The TCU's conclusion will be sent to Congress, which will decide whether or not to approve the government's statement of accounts.

The opposition will use this rejection to argue that the President should be impeached for breaking the law.
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U.N. examines donations from foundation tied to alleged bribe scheme

U.N. examines donations from foundation tied to alleged bribe scheme | Global Corruption |
The United Nations said on Wednesday it was examining how donations were used from a foundation linked to several of six people charged by U.S. authorities in an alleged bribery scheme tied to a former president of the U.N. General Assembly.
U.S. prosecutors filed a complaint in federal court in New York on Tuesday, outlining how more than $1.3 million in bribes were received from Chinese businessmen, including billionaire Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng.
Prosecutors said some of the bribes were arranged through Sheri Yan, chief executive officer of a New York-based organization, and Heidi Park, its finance director, who were also arrested. Central to the complaint was former president of the General Assembly John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda.
The organization was not named, but the Global Sustainability Foundation website lists Yan and Park as holding those positions.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that the donations to the United Nations from the foundation were being scrutinized by the U.N. office for south-south cooperation, which he said was the recipient of the donations.
"They are taking a very close review at all of the relationships with this foundation," he said. "They are taking an active look, and I think we'll look as deeply as possible into the money, where it went and what it was used for."
"We are continuing to study the complaint that was released yesterday," he said, adding that he believed the U.N. office for south-south cooperation received about $1.5 million from the foundation.
Dujarric said on Tuesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was "shocked and deeply troubled" by the allegations. The U.N. had not previously been informed of the probe, he said, but would cooperate if contacted.
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Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s top problem is corruption

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s top problem is corruption | Global Corruption |
When Peruvian-born Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa told me in a public interview in front of 300 newspaper editors last weekend that “corruption is the biggest threat to Latin American democracies,” my first reaction was to think that it was an exaggeration. But, on second thought, he may be right.

At first, when Vargas Llosa made that comment during the interview at the annual meeting of the Inter American Press Association in Charleston, South Carolina, I thought that other problems — such as Latin America’s excessive dependence on commodity exports, drug-related violence, lack of competitiveness, and dismal education and innovation standards — are just as serious problems for the region as corruption.

But Vargas Llosa’s explanation, citing the case of Brazil, made a convincing case that — at least in the short run — corruption may be the region’s No. 1 problem.

“Brazil’s case is very interesting because Brazil was a country that seemed to have taken off, that looked like an emerging power. And suddenly, what is it that put an end to that, and set Brazil backwards? It’s corruption, which peaked during a government that the rest of the world was seeing as a model government, that of (Luiz Inácio) Lula da Silva,” he said.

Brazil wasn’t hit by a devastating economic blow from abroad, nor suffered a natural disaster. Its economy collapsed this year amid a growing political scandal over the national Petrobras oil company’s kickbacks to leading ruling party politicians. The $800 million scandal, which took place during Lula’s presidency, when current President Dilma Rousseff was a member of the Petrobras board, has triggered massive protests across the country.

“Today, investors are fleeing,” Vargas Llosa said. “They don’t want to invest a cent in Brazil. And it’s because of corruption.”
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How India is fighting corruption—using the very people who pay bribes

"...if people-power is going to work, then three things need to be apparent. Firstly, if citizens are going to be empowered to take decisions that help weed out corrupt practices, then governments and local authorities need to be willing to cede power to them. They need to be happy for citizens to genuinely get involved, take decisions—and then act on them. Authorities, in other words, need to limit their own power—not something that too many politicians in states with significant petty corruption (and states where democracy may not be seen as particularly significant anyway) are generally inclined to do.
You need to have patience, to realise that changing deep-rooted processes takes time and then to be clear about what you would regard success to be.
Secondly, citizen empowerment tends to work best when it develops organically. Indeed, that happened with all of the above examples. That needs a fair bit of stickability on behalf of the those involved.

Finally, the programmes have to be well-designed and organised in such a way as to enable them to have long-term futures. Don’t, in other words, expect too much too soon and do make sure that the goals are both achievable and measurable. You need to have patience, to realise that changing deep-rooted processes takes time and then to be clear about what you would regard success to be."

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Rod Blagojevich, Bob McDonnell, and the Nature of Corruption

Rod Blagojevich, Bob McDonnell, and the Nature of Corruption | Global Corruption |
What’s the line between “politics as usual” and political corruption? Recent cases involving two former state governors provide some interesting insights.

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is currently preparing to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review and possibly overturn his corruption convictions. Meanwhile another former governor, Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, recently succeeded in having some of his corruption convictions thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Blagojevich was indicted in 2009 on multiple counts including racketeering, conspiracy, honest services fraud, and extortion. As a result of the federal investigation, he was impeached by the Illinois legislature and removed from office. He ultimately was convicted of eighteen felony charges and in March of 2012 began serving a 14-year prison sentence.

Blagojevich’s trial centered on a number of different “pay to play” schemes in which the governor sought to extract “campaign contributions” or other things of value from those seeking action from his office. (The Seventh Circuit put the term “campaign contributions” in quotes because Blagojevich was in his second term and had already decided not to run for re-election; thus the jury was free to accept the government’s theory that the money was really for his personal use.) Much of the evidence came from Blagojevich’s own mouth: the FBI had been wiretapping his phones for months.

In one instance, when hospital lobbyists sought an increase in the reimbursement rates the state paid for Medicaid patients, Blagojevich let the hospital know he would agree to the new rates in exchange for a $50,000 “campaign contribution.” In another incident, after the state legislature approved a program to tax casinos for the benefit of racetracks, Blagojevich sent word to a man with interests in two racetracks that the governor would not sign the bill until the man made a $100,000 “contribution.”
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Criminalizing the second oldest profession, part 1: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

Criminalizing the second oldest profession, part 1: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) | Global Corruption |
The demand for bribes from politicians and the attendant temptation to succumb to those demands has been an ever-present reality for businesses since antiquity. As observed by former President Ronald Reagan: “It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession.” For centuries, bribing public officials has been a curse on governments and businesses alike. 

In response, many countries began enacting anti-corruptions laws in the late 1970s and 1980s. In 1977, the United States Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) following a series of corruption scandals highlighted by the Watergate investigation and the resulting resignation of President Richard Nixon (See John Ashcroft & John Ratcliffe, The Recent and Unusual Evolution of An Expanding FCPA, 26 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 25 (2012); and Carolyn Lindsey, More Than You Bargained For: Successor Liability Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 35 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 959, 961 (2009).) While Watergate highlighted political corruption, as noted by many commentators, the investigation also shed light on corporate corruption and bribery in America. (Id. ) The Watergate investigation uncovered more than 400 American companies engaged in making bribes and other corrupt payments to officials in foreign governments around the world. (Id. See also U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Criminal Division & U.S. Sec. & Exchange Comm’n, Enforcement Div., A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (2012), (last accessed August 3, 2015).) The first few decades of the FCPA existence saw very few enforcement actions; however, the post-financial-crisis period has seen a significant increase in both political and regulatory expectations, resulting in a growing number of enforcement actions by regulatory agencies.
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FBI ANOUNCEMENT: Former UN General Assembly President and Five Others Charged in $1.3 Million Bribery Scheme

FBI ANOUNCEMENT: Former UN General Assembly President and Five Others Charged in $1.3 Million Bribery Scheme | Global Corruption |
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Thomas E. Bishop, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today that former United Nations (“UN”) Ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda (“Antigua”) and President of the UN General Assembly (“UNGA”) JOHN W. ASHE, Deputy UN Ambassador for the Dominican Republic FRANCIS LORENZO, NG LAP SENG, a/k/a “David NG” (“NG”), JEFF C. YIN, a/k/a “Yin Chuan,” SHIWEI YAN, a/k/a “Sheri YAN,” and HEIDI HONG PIAO, a/k/a “Heidi Park,” were charged in connection with a multi-year scheme to pay more than $1.3 million in bribes to ASHE in exchange for official actions in his capacity as UNGA President and Antiguan government official in support of Chinese business interests. LORENZO, NG, YIN, YAN, and PIAO are charged with multiple bribery-related counts. ASHE is charged with tax fraud for failure to report or pay income taxes on the over $1 million he received in bribes in 2013 and 2014. YAN and PIAO are also charged with laundering bribery money from China. ASHE was arrested in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and LORENZO, YAN, and PIAO were arrested in New York, New York, this morning, and are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV in Manhattan federal court later today. NG and YIN were previously arrested on September 19, 2015, based on a separate complaint alleging that NG and YIN agreed to make false statements to Customs and Border Protection officers about the true purpose of approximately $4.5 million in cash that NG and YIN had brought into the U.S. from China since 2013.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “If proven, today’s charges will confirm that the cancer of corruption that plagues too many local and state governments infects the United Nations as well. As alleged, for Rolexes, bespoke suits, and a private basketball court, John Ashe, the 68th President of the UN General Assembly, sold himself and the global institution he led. United in greed, the defendants allegedly formed a corrupt alliance of business and government, converting the UN into a platform for profit. We will continue to do everything we can to root out public corruption—whether we find it in a city council, in Albany, or as here, in the United Nations.”

FBI Assistant Director-In-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “The charges announced today are sending a message to those who come to the United States from other countries with corruption plans or bags full of cash—no one is above or beyond the law. Investigating public corruption remains a top priority for the FBI.”

IRS-CI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Bishop said: “IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of taxes, regardless of an individual’s position, wealth or prominence. Everyone is expected to report all of their income, even if the income comes from an illegal source, including bribes. We are always ready to partner with the United States Attorney’s and the FBI on investigations involving allegations of misuse of positions of public trust and their impact on tax compliance.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint1 unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

Since approximately 2011, ASHE has been soliciting and accepting bribes from various businesspeople in China seeking to influence the actions of the UN and officials in ASHE’s home country of Antigua. ASHE solicited and took the bribes at the time when he served as UN Ambassador for Antigua and as the 68th President of the UN General Assembly. The bribes were facilitated by LORENZO, NG, YIN, YAN, and PIAO, among others, who arranged for the transmission and laundering of over $1 million of bribery money from sources in China. In exchange for the bribes, ASHE agreed to and did perform official actions for businesspeople who were seeking benefits from the UN and Antigua. Among other things, ASHE accepted over $500,000 of bribes facilitated by LORENZO and YIN from NG, who was seeking to build a multibillion-dollar, UN-sponsored conference center in Macau, China (the “UN Macau Conference Center”). In exchange for these payments from NG, among other actions, ASHE submitted a UN document to the U.S.cretary General, which claimed that there was a purported need to build the UN Macau Conference Center. In addition, ASHE received over $800,000 in bribes from various Chinese businessmen arranged through YAN and PIAO and, in return for these bribes, ASHE advocated for these businessmen’s interests within the UN and with senior Antiguan government officials, including the country’s then-Prime Minister (the “Prime Minister”), with whom ASHE shared a portion of the bribe payments.

During the course of the scheme, defendant ASHE solicited and received bribes in various forms, including cash and payments to third parties to cover ASHE’s personal expenses, such as a family vacation and construction of a private basketball court at his house in Dobbs Ferry, New York. ASHE also transferred the bribery money to his personal bank accounts, primarily through checks he wrote to himself for a purported “salary” (although he already collected a salary from the Government of Antigua). ASHE then used the bribe money for his personal expenses, such as paying the mortgage on his house in Dobbs Ferry, making his BMW lease payments, and buying luxury items such as Rolex watches and custom suits. During the same period of time, ASHE failed to report sufficient income to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to account for the self-described salary and other bribes he received. In total, ASHE underreported his income to the IRS by more than $1.2 million in tax years 2013 and 2014 alone.

The Scheme by LORENZO, NG, and YIN to Bribe ASHE

As alleged in the Complaint, the scheme began in or about the spring of 2011, when ASHE was approached by LORENZO, the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN for the Dominican Republic. Since in or about 2010, in addition to being the Dominican Republic’s representative to the UN, LORENZO has also been the “Honorary President” of a New York-based nongovernmental organization created by NG (“NGO-1”), which purportedly is a “21st century media platform” whose mission is to advance the implementation of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals

In the spring of 2011, LORENZO invited ASHE to fly to Macau, China, to meet with NG. As alleged in the Complaint, NG was interested in bribing ASHE in order to acquire business interests in Antigua and to obtain UN support for his proposed UN Macau Conference Center. ASHE agreed to meet NG in Macau in exchange for LORENZO buying ASHE and his family a trip to New Orleans, including first-class airline tickets and a luxury hotel suite. After ASHE’s meeting with NG in Macau, ASHE told LORENZO that he had arranged for NG to meet with the then-Prime Minister of Antigua to discuss “concrete investment opportunities, including the immediate acquisition of hotel properties.” ASHE also then began soliciting additional payments from LORENZO to pay for the installation of a private basketball court at ASHE’s house in Westchester County. In addition to agreeing to pay for ASHE’s family vacation and basketball court, LORENZO began paying ASHE’s wife, as a “climate change consultant” for NGO-1, in the amount of $2,500 per month.

After initially focusing on paying ASHE to obtain access to the then-Prime Minister and other Antiguan officials to further NG’s effort to invest and acquire property in Antigua, LORENZO and NG then decided to use ASHE to seek to obtain UN support for NG’s proposed UN Macau Conference Center. In February 2012, LORENZO drafted a UN document in ASHE’s name for ASHE to submit to the U.S.cretary General in support of the development of NG’s UN Macau Conference Center. After exchanging several drafts of the UN Document with LORENZO, on February 24, 2012, ASHE submitted the final document to the UN. LORENZO used the UN document in promotional materials for NG’s conference center with other officials and an investment banking firm, using the document to imply that the conference center NG was seeking to develop was likely to be supported in some fashion by the United Nations.

In early 2013, YIN, who serves as NG’s principal assistant, repeatedly pressed LORENZO to make progress on NG’s request and threatened to halt the payments to LORENZO unless progress was made. Following the repeated demands by YIN (on NG’s behalf), LORENZO arranged for ASHE to issue a revised UN document that specifically promoted NG’s private company—by name—as the developer of the proposed conference center.

Later, LORENZO arranged for ASHE to travel to Macau with other UN officials to meet with NG in exchange for a $200,000 payment from NG to an account that ASHE had set up in the name of the President of the General Assembly, his role at the time. Prior to agreeing to make the trip, ASHE told LORENZO, “Even though NG has made a lot of empty promises in the past, I am willing to travel to Macau to see his project, since it is important to him. But it has to [be] made absolutely clear to him that I will not go unless I see the funds—funds which are NOT for my personal use but to help run the PGA office. Period. Please let them know that I am requesting somewhere between $100K and $250K.” Although ASHE claimed the funds would not be used by him personally, as described in detail in the Complaint, ASHE transferred the vast majority of funds that were paid to ASHE to ASHE’s personal account with his wife and used them to pay for personal expenses.

The Scheme by YAN and PIAO to Bribe ASHE

In addition to soliciting bribes from LORENZO, YIN, and NG, ASHE also solicited and received payments from YAN and PIAO, who represented other Chinese businessmen seeking to invest in or obtain favors from Antiguan government officials. In particular, as alleged in the Complaint, YAN and PIAO arranged for over $800,000 of payments to ASHE in exchange for official favors by ASHE and other Antiguan officials for various Chinese businessmen.

The initial payment arranged by YAN and PIAO was a $300,000 payment on behalf of a Chinese media executive referred to as “CC-1” in the Complaint. After receiving the payment, ASHE reported that he had traveled to Antigua “to meet with all the key decision makers to discuss [CC-1’s] plans; that I had the initial resources in hand (and which have now been fully utilized), certainly served the intended purpose of focusing minds and getting the conversation started.” Financial records reflect that ASHE sent $100,000 of CC-1’s payment to the Prime Minister of Antigua, and sent more funds to other Antiguan political interests.

In August 2013, YAN and PIAO began paying ASHE approximately $20,000 per month to be the “Honorary Chairman” of a new New York-based non-governmental organization (“NGO-2”), of which YAN serves as the CEO, which purportedly was formed to promote the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The next month, after ASHE formally assumed his one-year term as UNGA President, YAN and PIAO arranged for another Chinese businessman, referred to as “CC-2” in the Complaint, to send ASHE $100,000 purportedly to pay for a UN reception in honor of ASHE’s presidency. Approximately one month later, YAN and PIAO arranged for PIAO to travel with ASHE and CC-2 to meet with Antiguan officials about a $20 million deal for CC-2’s company to install a “national Internet security system” for Antigua. ASHE’s intercession on CC-2’s behalf resulted in a signed “memorandum of understanding” between CC-2’s company and the Government of Antigua to move forward with CC-2’s project. ASHE also used his position as UNGA President to promote CC-2’s company to officials with the Government of Kenya. ASHE paid a portion of these bribe payments to the Prime Minister of Antigua.

In addition, YAN and PIAO arranged for ASHE to be paid $200,000 (plus travel expenses) in exchange for attending and speaking in ASHE’s official capacity at a private conference in China hosted by a Chinese real estate developer identified as CC-3 in the Complaint. In addition to attendance at the conference, CC-3 also sought to “offer [ASHE] a permanent convention venue for the UN meetings on sustainability and climate changes . . . as well as for the 193 members of the UN to convene. . . .”

ASHE’s Tax Fraud

As alleged in the Complaint, in 2013 and 2014, while ASHE was UNGA President, he solicited and received payments from LORENZO, NG, YIN, YAN, PIAO, and others, to business accounts he personally created in the name of the President of the General Assembly. More than $1 million of the money that ASHE solicited to allegedly support his UN Presidency ASHE then transferred to himself, primarily in the form of $25,000 monthly checks written to and by him with the memo line “salary” (notwithstanding the fact that he already received a salary from the Government of Antigua). During these years, ASHE was also paid approximately $200,000 annually in “consulting” income from LORENZO, NG, PIAO, and YAN. For tax years 2013 and 2014, ASHE filed tax returns that materially failed to account for the income he was deriving from his purported salary payments and his “consulting” contracts. Specifically, for year 2013, ASHE and his wife underreported their income by approximately $462,350 and, for year 2014, they underreported his income by approximately $796,329.28.

* * *

ASHE, 61, of Dobbs Ferry, New York, is charged with two counts of subscribing to false and fraudulent U.S. individual income tax returns. Each of these counts carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. LORENZO, 48, of the Bronx, New York, NG, 67, YIN, 29, YAN, 57, and PIAO, 52, are each charged with bribery conspiracy and bribery. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and the bribery charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. YAN and PIAO are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

LORENZO, YIN, YAN, and PIAO are naturalized U.S. citizens. ASHE is a citizen of Antigua and legal permanent resident of the United States. NG is a citizen of China, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic.
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Ex-UN General Assembly head among 6 held in bribery scheme

Ex-UN General Assembly head among 6 held in bribery scheme | Global Corruption |

A former president of the United Nations General Assembly turned the world body into a "platform for profit" by accepting over $1 million in bribes and a trip to New Orleans from a billionaire Chinese real estate mogul and other businesspeople to pave the way for lucrative investments, a prosecutor charged Tuesday.
John Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served in the largely ceremonial post as head of the 193-nation assembly from September 2013 to September 2014, faces tax fraud charges in what authorities call a conspiracy with five others, including Francis Lorenzo, a deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic who lives in the Bronx.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara repeatedly noted that it was early in the investigation and told reporters that as it proceeds: "We will be asking: Is bribery business as usual at the U.N.?"
He added: "I wouldn't be surprised if we see other people charged."
The prosecutor said Ashe "converted the United Nations into a platform for profit" when bribery opportunities were dangled before him by Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng, 67, and others.
"We obviously just learned of the very serious allegations this morning," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told reporters. Dujarric said Ban was "shocked and deeply troubled" by the allegations that "go to the heart and integrity of the U.N."

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Antigua says ex-UN official isn't in government

Antigua says ex-UN official isn't in government | Global Corruption |
The United Nations is defending itself against a prosecutor's claims that a bribery case against a former United Nations General Assembly president and five others might just be the tip of the iceberg.

The spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Tuesday that "corruption is not business as usual at the U.N."

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric spoke shortly after U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told reporters his investigation was continuing and his office plans to be asking if bribery is "business as usual at the U.N. as the probe proceeds."

Former President John Ashe was arrested Tuesday, a year after finishing a yearlong stint in the largely ceremonial post. It wasn't clear who will represent Ashe in court against charges he accepted over $1 million in bribes.

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Corruption Currents: U.N. Launches Audit in Bribery Case

Corruption Currents: U.N. Launches Audit in Bribery Case | Global Corruption |
The U.N. launched an audit into funds linked to the bribery scandal. Prosecutors warned of further arrests and charges. (AFP, Reuters)

Romania is considering legalized bribery to keep its doctors. (Washington Times)

Three more people were arrested in Greece for allegedly paying bribes to secure arms deals. (Greek Reporter)

Testimony has begun in a corruption and bribery case involving an Iranian businessman. (Today’s Zaman)

A judge in Milan ordered Italian firm Saipem SPM.MI -0.06% to stand trial for alleged bribery in Algeria. (PetroGlobal News)

Companies that don’t bribe should be rewarded, according to a Malaysian minister. (Rakyat Post)

Indonesia’s KPK named a new suspect in its bribery probe of Innospec. (Jakarta Globe)

The question of defining “conspiracy” in a bribery case came before the U.S. Supreme Court. (Huffington Post)

In local politics: An anti-corruption watchdog in Australia found that the mayor of Perth failed to disclose gifts. (Guardian)


U.K. spies can hack into smartphones with a text message, according to Edward Snowden. (AFP)

Matthew Keys, a journalist, was convicted of hacking after posting login credentials from a former employer to an Anonymous forum. (Politico)

Money Laundering:

Deutsche Bank AGDBK.XE -1.39% was sued by two employees who were fired amid an investigation into possible money laundering at its Russian unit. (Bloomberg)

Metalor rejected allegations of money laundering and the purchase of illegal gold raised by a Swiss non-government organization. (Swissinfo)

Nigeria widened its probe into oil corruption by arresting the chairman of a local firm. His lawyer and a company spokesman couldn’t be reached. (DW, Independent, Reuters)

One Nigerian governor declared that money laundering will soon be history. The president warned the corrupt that their time was up. (Leadership, AFP)

Anti-money laundering compliance requires collaboration with the cybersecurity team, experts say. (Thomson Reuters)
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UN to audit its dealings with entities tied to alleged bribe scheme

UN to audit its dealings with entities tied to alleged bribe scheme | Global Corruption |
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has ordered an audit of all dealings the organisation had with two entities that are the subjects of a U.S. bribery probe, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.

Ban asked the Office of Internal Oversight Services to audit all of the U.N.'s interactions with the Global Sustainability Foundation and the Sun Kian Ip Group, as well as the use of any funds received from them, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Speaking to reporters at U.N. headquarters, Dujarric said Ban was "committed to ensuring that funds received from such private entities were handled properly, according to relevant U.N. rules and regulations."

There "will be no tolerance for any corruption at the United Nations or in the name of the United Nations," he added.

In a complaint filed in federal court in New York on Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors said more than US$1.3 million in bribes were received from Chinese businessmen, including billionaire Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng.

John Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who was president of the U.N. General Assembly from 2013 to 2014, was one of six people charged and arrested.

Prosecutors said some of the bribes were arranged through Sheri Yan, chief executive officer of a New York-based organisation, and Heidi Park, its finance director, who were also arrested.
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Ex-Chicago Public Schools Leader Charged With Corruption

Ex-Chicago Public Schools Leader Charged With Corruption | Global Corruption |
The former CEO of Chicago Public Schools will plead guilty in an indictment that alleges she was involved in a scheme to steer $20 million worth of no-bid contracts to education companies in exchange for bribes and kickbacks, her attorney said Thursday.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who resigned earlier this year as leader of the nation's third-largest school district, "takes full responsibility for her conduct," Chicago-based lawyer Michael Scudder said in a statement. Scudder said Byrd-Bennett would plead guilty and will continue to cooperate with the government, including testifying if called upon to do so.

Byrd-Bennett, who was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2012, stepped down about four months ago amid a federal investigation into a contract between the district and SUPES Academy, a training academy where she once worked as a consultant.

Byrd-Bennett, 66, is charged with several counts of mail and wire fraud that each carry maximum 20-year prison sentences. U.S. attorney Zachary Fardon said the indictment accuses her of "abusing her power to line her own pockets and those of her co-defendants."

SUPES Academy and a related company, Synesi Associates LLC, are also charged, as are their owners, Gary Soloman and Thomas Vranas. Both men are charged with bribery and conspiracy to defraud, along with mail and wire fraud.

The two men are accused of placing money into the accounts of two of Byrd-Bennett's relatives, referred to as Relatives A and B in the indictment, that at one point each had $127,000. The indictment also alleges that Solomon and Vranas promised Byrd-Bennett a job after she left CPS, and that part of the agreed-to bribes would be disguised as a lucrative signing bonus.

The indictment alleges that one email from Solomon to Byrd-Bennett said, "If you only join for the day, you will be the highest paid person on the planet for that day." In another email, he allegedly said: "When this stint at CPS is done and you are ready to re re re retire, we have your spot waiting for you."
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World: U.N. Says It Can’t Probe Graft Scandal

World: U.N. Says It Can’t Probe Graft Scandal | Global Corruption |
The United Nations said it hasn’t launched an internal investigation into allegations by U.S. prosecutors that a former General Assembly president and others engaged in a bribery scheme, fueling criticism that the international body isn’t doing enough to weed out corruption.

The U.N. on Wednesday said that it was “studying the complaints” and would cooperate with U.S. authorities but the organization didn’t have the mandate or power to investigate individuals or entities that weren’t considered staff or part of the official U.N. umbrella, said Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the secretary-general.

Diplomats aren’t legally bound to U.N. ethical codes and follow the laws of their home countries, Mr. Dujarric and other U.N. officials said. The U.N.’s internal watchdog, Office of Internal Oversight Services, can audit and investigate only U.N. staff members, they said.
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USA: Campaign finance and legalized bribery

USA: Campaign finance and legalized bribery | Global Corruption |

Today’s Supreme Court blesses oligarchy with the similarly warped logic that property can be entitled to the constitutional rights of a person. In time Citizens United will be tossed in the dumpster too.

Undoing the harm this ruling has done already and continues to do should not need to involve warfare but could very well require a constitutional amendment if the Supreme Court in the fairly near future does not come to its senses and overturn Citizens United before a 28th amendment is ratified. How this all plays out and how promptly this inevitable outcome is brought about largely depends on legal creativity bordering on hubris.

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Women charged in UN bribery case were donors to Rep. Calvert

Women charged in UN bribery case were donors to Rep. Calvert | Global Corruption |
Two women arrested Tuesday morning and charged in federal court with laundering money from Chinese businessmen each tried to give a California GOP lawmaker the maximum contributions allowed by law last year, Federal Election Commission records show.
Jason Gagnon, communications director for Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), whose campaign and leadership PAC received the checks, said the $10,200 the congressman’s committees ultimately received will be donated to a charity organization after OpenSecrets Blog inquired about the donors on Wednesday.
The women, Heidi Piao and Shiwei Yan, are charged in connection with an alleged bribery scheme involving a former president of the United Nations General Assembly and Ng Lap Seng, a Macau-based billionaire who himself was arrested in Queens, N.Y. on Sept. 19. In that case, Ng and an assistant allegedly agreed to lie to federal customs agents about the true purpose of $4.5 million dollars in cash they’d carried into the U.S. since 2013.
If some of this sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because Ng played a key role in the campaign finance scandal surrounding the 1996 presidential election. According to investigators, Ng was the source of more than $1 million sent to a central figure in the scandal, Charlie Trie, who gave much of the money to the Democratic National Committee. Ng has also been linked to organized crime in Macau, including its infamous triads, as well as to casino billionaire and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.
Piao and Yan — both U.S. citizens who reside in China, according to the complaint — made six contributions to Calvert on May 30, 2014, records show. The two used different aliases and two different sets of addresses, employers and occupations. They split the $20,400 in reported donations between Calvert’s campaign committee and leadership PAC, Eureka PAC. Yan had also given Calvert $5,300 since 2002, federal records show.
Yan’s checks in May 2014, however, didn’t clear, according to Gagnon. The campaign and PAC ultimately received $10,200 from sPiao that day, he said.
One of the women’s employers closely matches the description of a nonprofit mentioned, but not by name, in the complaint. That nonprofit, according to the complaint, began paying roughly $20,000 per month to the former U.N. General Assembly president, John Ashe, in August 2013 for his services as the group’s “honorary chairman.” In return, prosecutors allege, Ashe helped a Chinese security company sign a lucrative memorandum of understanding with officials in Antigua, his home country, and facilitated their business elsewhere.
There was no mention of the contributions to Calvert in the complaint. But the press release about the case detailed the pair’s involvement in the alleged U.N. bribery scheme: Along with Ng and two others, Piao and Yan “arranged for the transmission and laundering of over $1 million of bribery money from sources in China,” according to the press release. Ashe, the U.N. official, allegedly “received $800,000 in bribes from various Chinese businessmen arranged through Yan and Piao,” the release reads.
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USA: Is corruption costing DeKalb County?

USA: Is corruption costing DeKalb County? | Global Corruption |

"Whispers and allegations of corruption iin DeKalb County date back more than a decade, and include accusations of kickback schemes, pay-to-play agreements, and improper contracting.  The most recently-elected CEO and a resigned county commissioner are both serving prison time. 
The most recent allegations involve a corruption report ordered by interim CEO Lee May, who hired a pair of independent investigators to look into any possible waste or fraud in DeKalb County. 
The report delivered in the last week of September outlines "corrosive and widespread misconduct," according to its author, former Attorney General Mike Bowers.  It is filled with lists of how staffers spent money on everything from food to florists, from televisions to toll fines.  May stopped that purchasing card program last summer, after the allegations of abuse first came to light.  His spending is also questioned, although his office has shown paperwork that personal purchases made on a trip to Hawaii were paid for with May's own credit card, not the county card.  
May is holding a series of town hall meetings across DeKalb County to hear from voters.  He calls the report "laughable."  Governor Deal, meanwhile, has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to review the report by Bowers. 
The DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has noted the headlines. 
"Any alleged corruption is not good for business in DeKalb County," says Chamber President Katerina Taylor.  "And in order for us to be a successful, thriving business county with thriving businesses, we have to find some resolutions." 

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Nigeria arrests oil tycoon as corruption probe widens

Nigeria has arrested the chairman of a local oil firm, a security official said on Tuesday, as part of a widening graft investigation in Africa's biggest petroleum producer that has also netted former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Days after British police detained Alison-Madueke, one of Africa's most powerful women, the official said Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arrested Atlantic Energy chairman Olajide Omokore on corruption and money laundering charges.

The arrests, which follow pledges by President Muhammadu Buhari to "clean up" Africa's biggest economy, have sent shockwaves through Nigeria's globe-trotting corporate and political elite.

"A lot of people have been shocked," one oil executive in Nigeria told Reuters. "The net is widening and it's not clear how deep the rabbit hole goes. There will be a few people looking over their shoulders."

In response to a Reuters query, Switzerland's office of the attorney general said it had received a request from Nigeria for "mutual assistance" in connection with Nigerian tycoon Kolawole Aluko and energy firms linked to him.

The EFCC official said Omokore, listed by Forbes magazine in 2012 as one of "Ten Nigerian multi-millionaires you have never heard of", remained in custody.

"He is being interrogated," the official, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters. He gave no further details.

Omokore's lawyer and a spokesman for his company could not be reached for comment. Aluko's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Alison-Madueke, whose house in Abuja was raided by Nigerian police on Friday night, was accused by former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi of presiding over
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PHILIPPINES: 5th plunder rap filed vs Binay over BSP land deal

PHILIPPINES: 5th plunder rap filed vs Binay over BSP land deal | Global Corruption |
President Jejomar Binay and several other officials of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines are facing another plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the allegedly anomalous sale of a BSP property in Makati City (Metro Manila).
Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, the complainant, on Tuesday said the so-called Malugay property was appraised at P1 billion in 2005.
“Until now the BSP has not received anything from the sale of this land. They sold it a very cheap price, at P600 million. But the BSP has not received even that P600 million,” Mercado told reporters in Filipino.
“I leave it to the Office of the Ombudsman to determine how much he [Binay] earned from this anomaly. But what I am saying here is that it was Vice President Binay, as President of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, who led the sale of this land at a very low price,” he said.
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The billion-dollar ex-council flat - BBC News

The billion-dollar ex-council flat - BBC News | Global Corruption |
The loss of the money - equivalent to an eighth of Moldova's entire GDP - has thrown the country into economic and political chaos.
Image copyrightGoogle Streetview
Thousands of protestors gather every weekend in the capital Chisinau to demand the return of the cash and the punishment of those guilty of the alleged fraud.
Fortuna United is named in the leaked report, by the New York-based corporate investigative agency Kroll, as the firm that is ultimately owed the entire proceeds of the Moldovan fraud.
But Fortuna United is obviously not doing any business in the flat in Pilton.

I don't have anything to worry about. I didn't commit fraud myself or my partner didn't do it. We comply with all the regulations.
Viktorija Zirnelyte
The only firm that is appears to be Royston Business Consultancy, a company formation agent or corporate services provider - that is, a company that sets up other companies - which registered Fortuna United and the firms officially housed there.
Royston Business Consultancy is run by a 36-year-old Lithuanian, Viktorija Zirnelyte, who owns the flat, and her business partner, fellow Lithuanian Remigijus Mikalauskas.
Her office is a homely front room with a row of ring-binders on a shelf among photos and ornaments, looking out on a privet hedge. She trained as an accountant, moved to Britain in 2004 and worked a series of odd jobs before starting this factory churning out companies.
She says she and Mikalauskas not only set up Fortuna United, they are directors of the two firms behind it - even though those firms are themselves officially based thousands of miles away in the Seychelles Islands.
Fortuna United is a limited partnership made up of two Seychelles companies - Brixton Ventures Ltd, whose director is Mikalauskas, and Trafford United Ltd, whose director is Zirnelyte.
But they have never been to the Seychelles, and official Seychelles ink stamps used to register Fortuna United at Companies House in the UK were not sent from the islands.
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Corruption Currents: U.S. Busts Money Launderers Using Hawala Tactics

Corruption Currents: U.S. Busts Money Launderers Using Hawala Tactics | Global Corruption |
Jailed FIFA executive Rafael Esquivel will remain in Swiss custody for the near future after an appeals court identified him as a flight risk. (NY Daily News, Reuters)

An Indian state government argued to a court that it shouldn’t have granted bail to a former chief minister accused in the Louis Berger bribery case. (DNA)

How much do corrupt officials pay for promotions in China? (WantChina Times)

In local politics: A federal appeals court heard arguments from convicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that challenged the definition of bribery. (WGNO, AP)


Lionel Messi was cleared of tax-fraud charges. (Sky)

Money Laundering:

U.S. federal authorities said they busted an international network of money launderers who moved millions of dollars for the Sinaloa drug cartel and other criminal groups using hawala-like tactics, referring to an off-the-books system of remittance, common in places like Afghanistan, that bypasses traditional banks. It marks the first U.S. case against such tactics in a drug case. (LA Times)

Victims of de-risking are speaking out about their troubles. (Guardian)

Iranian prosecutors sought the seizure of assets from a corruption suspect facing death for laundering money. (Hurriyet, Today’s Zaman)

Bangladesh is set to enact tougher anti-money laundering rules. Insurers were warned about risks of money laundering. (Daily Star, BDNews24, Daily Star)

The U.S. State Department cited issues with Cambodia’s anti-money laundering regime. (Phnom Penh Post)
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NEW MEXICO Secretary of State accused of dozens of corruption charges

NEW MEXICO Secretary of State accused of dozens of corruption charges | Global Corruption |
New Mexico’s secretary of state, who is responsible for campaign finance reporting and who once called out a “culture of corruption” in the state’s government, is facing a number of corruption charges including money laundering and identity theft.

Secretary of State Dianna K. Duran was accused of financial crimes in an August indictment, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, on Friday the attorney general’s office also alleged that Duran falsified campaign finance reports, using the name of a former state Senate colleague and claiming him as her campaign treasurer.

Duran now faces 65 charges that include fraud, embezzlement and money laundering, the Times reported. She is alleged to have withdrawn $430,000 between 2013 and 2014 from her personal accounts, while also depositing campaign funds into her personal accounts. Prosecutors allege she frequented a number of casinos across the state.

The Republican, elected in 2010, took office after focusing on possible violations of voter ID laws

The law allows prosecutors to request an enhanced sentence for a conviction of public corruption that includes a fine equal to his or her pay from the time of the earliest crime – in this case it could amount to a nearly $500,000 fine, the Times reported.
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U.S. government probes alleged UN bribery scheme

U.S. law enforcement authorities are investigating an alleged bribery scheme involving payments to officials at the United Nations to gain support for real estate developments in Macau, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The investigation, led by the office of the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and the FBI, centers on alleged bribery by Chinese businesspeople, the newspaper reported.

The number of U.N. officials involved in the alleged scheme and their identities were not known, the newspaper said. (

Last month's arrests of Macau real-estate mogul Ng Lap Seng, and his assistant, Jeff Yin, are connected to the alleged scheme and additional charges are expected to be announced as early as Tuesday against a number of other people, including current or former UN officials, the Journal said.

U.S. authorities charged Ng, a real estate developer from the Chinese territory Macau, and his principal assistant for engaging in a two-year scheme to import over $4.5 million into the United States under false pretenses.
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