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If you were a Chinese official, would you be corrupt?

If you were a Chinese official, would you be corrupt? | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

"Want to understand corruption? Get inside the minds of the corrupt. That seems to be the thinking behind a quiz developed by a Chinese scholar and published online by state press.

Professor Di Xiaohua, head of the Crime Prevention and Control Research Institute at Nanjing University, interviewed 47 Chinese prisoners and analyzed the results of 200 surveys to get a better sense of what leads officials astray, reports China Daily. Then, working with local officials, Di developed a 34-part questionnaire designed to test corruptibility. Here are some head-scratchers, translated from the Chinese..."

 

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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.
- Gerald E. Caiden
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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 | Scoop.it

*** Key findings from PwC's 17th Annual Global Economic Crime Survey

*** Cyber crime: the Achilles heel of the business world
*** Ukraine’s $19-billion question of debt and corruption

*** FBI announces campaign to crack down on public corruption

*** Ukraine’s $19-billion question of debt and corruption

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Q. and A.: Raymond W. Baker on Financial Fraud in China

Q. and A.: Raymond W. Baker on Financial Fraud in China | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

From 2003 to 2012, $6.6 trillion was secretly and illegally funneled out of developing and emerging economies by entities that may have been involved in crime, corruption and tax evasion, according to a new report by Global Financial Integrity, a nonprofit economic analysis and policy advisory organization based in Washington.

Nearly 80 percent of that money was transferred through fraudulent trade invoices, falsifying the value of trade deals, making it possible for the funds to illicitly leave one country and move offshore, the report said. The huge outflows are a major problem for poor and middle-income economies. In 2012 alone, there were $991.2 billion in illicit financial flows. The biggest amounts left China, Russia, Mexico and India.

Raymond W. Baker, the president of Global Financial Integrity and an authority on money laundering and corruption, discussed the situation in China

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Webb County, Texas Commissioner Sentenced to 76 Months in Prison for Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Official Actions | OPA | Department of Justice

Webb County, Texas Commissioner Sentenced to 76 Months in Prison for Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Official Actions | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Kristopher Michael Montemayor, 37, of Laredo, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of federal programs bribery on June 19, 2014.  In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay a fine of $109,405.72 and to forfeit $13,721.16.

In his plea agreement, Montemayor admitted that he solicited and accepted multiple bribes in exchange for promising to perform official acts.  Specifically, Montemayor admitted that he accepted three separate bribe payments totaling $11,000 and over $2,700 in electronics and other merchandise, including two Apple iPads and two pairs of Dr. Dre Beats Solo HD headphones, from a businessman who, unbeknownst to Montemayor, was an undercover law enforcement agent.  In exchange for the cash and the other items, Montemayor promised to take various forms of official action to promote the business interests of the undercover agent.

Montemayor also admitted to accepting a 2012 Ford F-150 pick-up truck, worth approximately $37,000, in exchange for providing government jobs to the vehicle owner and his spouse.  As a result of these appointments, the vehicle owner and his wife received salaries of $26,000 and $45,553 from Webb County.  Montemayor admitted that the vehicle owner performed little or no work in exchange for his government salary.

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News - Daily Corruption News: 26 January 2015

China: Death threats and dawn raids: Welcome to China's anti-graft drive
Businessweek

Denmark: Danish FA wants special court to deal with sports corruption
Reuters

Kazakhstan: Kazakh border chief pleads not guilty to corruption charge
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Indonesia: Indonesian anti-graft deputy offers to resign, investors fret
Reuters

South Africa: 'Dismantling' of anti-corruption team proof government isn't serious about fighting graft: Zille
SAPA

US: Prosecutor urges reform after charging NY speaker with corruption
Reuters
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USA: Antitrust Division Announces Fiscal Year Total in Criminal Fines Collected

USA:  Antitrust Division Announces Fiscal Year Total in Criminal Fines Collected | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The Department of Justice collected $1.861 billion in criminal fines and penalties resulting from Antitrust Division prosecutions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2014.  Contributing in part to one of the largest yearly collections for the division, five of the companies paid in full penalties that exceeded $100 million, including a $425 million criminal fine levied against Bridgestone Corp., the fourth-largest fine the Antitrust Division has ever obtained.  The second-largest fine collected was a $195 million criminal fine levied against Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd.  The three additional companies that paid fines and penalties exceeding $100 million were Mitsubishi Electric Corp. with $190 million, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. with $120 million and JTEKT Corp. with $103.2 million.  The collection total also includes penalties of more than $561 million received as a result of the division’s LIBOR investigation, which has been conducted in cooperation with the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  In addition, in the last fiscal year the division obtained jail terms for 21 individual defendants, with an average sentence of 26 months, the third-highest average ever. 

“The size of these penalties is an unfortunate reminder of the powerful temptation to cheat the American consumer and profit from collusion,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer for the Antitrust Division. 
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USA: A Republican scenemaker faces fraud charges

USA: A Republican scenemaker faces fraud charges | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
For Bucks County Republicans and power brokers, the parties at Claire Risoldi's extravagant mansion near New Hope were unforgettable affairs.

Risoldi would book bands. Occasionally she brought in performers to impersonate celebrities including Frank Sinatra or Cher. The Mummers made at least one appearance. She even held her own wedding in front of a crowd that had paid for tickets to a fund-raiser for Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick.

"Claire's larger than life," said District Attorney David Heckler, a Republican who had at least one soiree thrown in his honor at Risoldi's estate, a 10-acre property known as Clairemont. "No expense was spared."

Occasionally, guests would whisper about where Risoldi got her money, since her only known job was in her daughter's law office. She often explained that she inherited a windfall from her late husband's successful tile company.

State prosecutors provided their own theory last week: rampant insurance fraud. The Attorney General's Office on Thursday charged Risoldi and several members of her family with bilking insurers out of $20 million after her mansion caught fire three times in five years.

With the proceeds, prosecutors allege, the Risoldis bought six Ferraris, two Rolls-Royces, another house, and $1.2 million worth of jewelry.

Among those also charged with fraud and other crimes were her daughter, Carla Risoldi; son, Carl Risoldi; and husband, Thomas French.

Each was free on bail after their arrests Thursday. A lawyer for Claire Risoldi said she would fight the charges.

In interviews Friday, some of her well-heeled party guests said they were unaware of her allegedly ill-gotten income, not to mention her 1990 federal fraud conviction.

The state grand jury presentment alleges an extravagant lifestyle perpetuated by decades of lies, allowing Risoldi to mingle with the county's Republican elite.
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Bharara: NYers should be outraged over corrupt politicians

Get angry, New York.
In a rousing speech made one day after the bust of state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara urged state residents to voice their outrage over the “cauldron of corruption” that is Albany.
“People need to demand more,” Bharara said Friday, addressing 350 students, faculty and invited dignitaries at an event hosted by the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School.
“It’s not just enough to be fed up,” the prosecutor told the overflow crowd, which included former Mayor David Dinkins, former mayoral candidate and MTA chairman Joe Lhota and city Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon.
“When in New York, politician after politician after politician breaks bad, that’s a time to say no more half-measures,” he said.
“And, I think, given the interest and the attention to some of the cases we brought and continue to bring, this can finally be perhaps a turning point for reform.”
Bharara didn’t mention Silver by name during the 25-minute speech that toggled between emphatic and humorous — and included a gamut of references from Bruce Springsteen to Edward R. Murrow to ’70s sitcoms.
But the prosecutor repeatedly referenced the speaker’s corruption case, which alleges Silver peddled his influence in return for more than $4 million in kickbacks and bogus legal fees.
“If ever there was a moment for real reform, I think it’s now,” he urged. “And the public has to demand more.
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2014 Ponzi Schemes - Ponzitracker

Ponzi schemes continued to be discovered at a steady pace in 2014, with the 70 uncovered schemes barely surpassing the 67 schemes uncovered in 2013.  In 2014, at least 70 Ponzi schemes were uncovered, with a total of more than $1.5 billion in potential losses.  This equated to the discovery of a Ponzi scheme roughly every five days.  This included at least three Ponzi schemes with estimated losses of at least $100,000,000 or more, with the estimated $300 million in losses in the alleged TelexFree Ponzi scheme ranking as the largest Ponzi scheme exposed in 2014.

In terms of sentencing, at least 136 prison sentences were handed down for those convicted for their role in Ponzi schemes in 2014, with over 1,500 years in cumulative sentences.  These figures are well ahead of the sentences handed down in 2013, which saw 117 prison sentences for more than 1,000 years in total. These sentences ranged from mere months to decades in prison, with James Jackson Jr.'s 90-year sentence for a $2.7 million Ponzi scheme ranking as the highest Ponzi sentence handed down in 2014.  

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Former Waco financial planner facing federal fraud charges in ‘Ponzi-type scheme’

A prominent former Waco financial adviser has admitted stealing at least $8 million from his clients in a Ponzi-type investment scheme during the past decade, according to a federal complaint filed against him.
Federal authorities have charged Charles D. Jones, owner of Charles D. Jones Capital Management Inc., with wire fraud in an alleged scheme that federal prosecutors describe as “basically a rob Peter to pay Paul system.”
Since the allegations came to light, Jones, who graduated from Baylor Law School in 1978, surrendered his law license in June 2014.
Jones, who waived indictment, is charged in what is known as a federal information and was released by U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey C. Manske on $25,000 unsecured bond after his initial court appearance earlier this month.
He is set to plead guilty in Waco’s federal court on Feb. 19 and faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million, according to court records and his attorney, Rob Swanton.
“Mr. Jones has fully cooperated with the federal government in the investigation and will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent that he is able to do so,” Swanton said.
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Ranking The States From Most To Least Corrupt

Ranking The States From Most To Least Corrupt | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara ripped into the political culture in Albany on Thursday during a news conference detailing the arrest of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges. Indeed, cynics (including this writer) weren’t surprised that yet another of New York’s public officials landed in hot legal water.

But is Bharara being too tough on the Empire State’s public servants? Is the New York capital really that corrupt? The truth is, there are different ways to measure corruption, and they point in different directions. Here are four measures
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Here's The Ridiculous Loot That's Been Found With Corrupt Chinese Officials

Here's The Ridiculous Loot That's Been Found With Corrupt Chinese Officials | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Zhou Yongkang once belonged to the all-powerful Politiburo Standing Committee and served as national police chief when he came under investigation in July 2014. His arrest in December could be a move to add legitimacy to Xi’s corruption campaign. It was previously taboo to investigate current or former members of the Politiburo.

NTD Television reported Zhou’s ill-gotten gains, which include assets totaling $16.05 billion.

Here’s a taste of Zhou’s confiscated spoils:

Cash stashed in Zhou’s residences totaling $300.3 million dollars in US dollars, Euros, Yuan, British Poundnds, and Swiss Francs.
62 cars including military Jeeps and a tourist bus
55 paintings by famous painters with a market value between $128 million to $161 million
Hundreds of foreign and domestic bank accounts belonging to Zhou and relatives totaling $6.06 billion.
Petroleum, aviation, wine, and financial securities with a total value of $8.24 billion
Foreign securities and bonds totaling $27.3 million
326 properties all over China totaling $1.76 billion in value
42,850 grams of gold, silver, and gold coins
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Corruption Currents: Will Russians ‘Eat Less’ to Support Putin?

Corruption Currents: Will Russians ‘Eat Less’ to Support Putin? | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Money Laundering:

The art world is vulnerable to money laundering and tax evasion, panelists said in Davos. (FT)

A former Iranian vice president was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a billion-dollar money laundering and embezzlement scheme. (Reuters)

The Seychelles government said it would help with a money laundering investigation of the former Sri Lanka president. (SNA)

A look at some of the assets corrupt Chinese officials held is here. (Business Insider)

Mike Volkov explains trade-based money laundering.
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Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker, Took Millions in Payoffs, U.S. Says

Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker, Took Millions in Payoffs, U.S. Says | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York Assembly, exploited his position as one of the most powerful politicians in the state to obtain millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, federal authorities said on Thursday as they announced his arrest on a sweeping series of corruption charges.

For years, Mr. Silver has earned a lucrative income outside government, asserting that he was a simple personal injury lawyer who represented ordinary people. But federal prosecutors said his purported law practice was a fiction, one he created to mask about $4 million in payoffs that he carefully and stealthily engineered for over a decade.

Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was accused of steering real estate developers to a law firm that paid him kickbacks. He was also accused of funneling state grants to a doctor who referred asbestos claims to a second law firm that employed Mr. Silver and paid him fees for referring clients.

“For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question: How could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in all of New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents?” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked at a news conference with F.B.I. officials. “Today, we provide the answer: He didn’t.”

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China says 15 Communist Party leaders in Tibet guilty of graft

Chinese anti-graft authorities found 15 senior Communist Party officials in Tibet guilty of corruption last year and punished them, the state-owned China News Service said on Tuesday.

China strictly polices dissent in Tibet but it is highly unusual for anti-graft authorities to investigate such matters.

A team from the party investigated officials suspected of joining groups supporting Tibetan independence, providing intelligence to the faction of Tibet's spiritual leader - the Dalai Lama, funding activities that endanger national security and other violations, the report said, citing Wang Gang, secretary general of Tibet's anti-graft authority.

The report did not specify what offences those punished were guilty of, but said they had committed "serious discipline violations", a Communist Party euphemism for corruption.
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InterAmerican Security Watch – Monitoring Threats to Regional Stability » Blog Archive » Diosdado Cabello’s head of security defects to the U.S. and accuses him of narcotrafficking

InterAmerican Security Watch – Monitoring Threats to Regional Stability » Blog Archive » Diosdado Cabello’s head of security defects to the U.S. and accuses him of narcotrafficking | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
With the arrival yesterday in Washington, DC, of protected witness, [Venezuelan Navy] Captain Leamsy Salazar, who until December was the head of security for Diosdado Cabello, a U.S. federal prosecutor has accelerated the preparation of a formal indictment against the number two in the Venezuelan regime.

Salazar is the highest-ranking military officer to break ranks with chavismo and make formal accusations in the United States against senior government officials for their involvement in narcotrafficking.

For almost 10 years, Salazar served as chief of security and as personal assistant to Hugo Chávez. After Chávez’s death, Salazar went on to work for Cabello as his chief of security.

Cartel of the Suns

According to sources close to the investigation, opened by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Salazar claims that [Cabello], the president of the National Assembly, is the head of the Cártel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns) and therefore the leader of the narcostate that Venezuela became under Chávez.

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.

As an aide who constantly accompanied Cabello, Salazar witnessed events and conversations that incriminate the National Assembly president. Specifically, he saw Cabello giving direct orders for the departure of boats loaded with tons of cocaine; he has also provided photographs of places where mountains of dollars (sic) from narcotrafficking are stored, according to sources close to the investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

On December 11, 2014, a shipment loaded with $10 million in cash was detained at Puerto Cabello, which is Venezuela’s most important seaport. The shipment came from the United States and it is speculated that it could be a payment for drugs. A mistake within the organization probably led to its discovery and confiscation.

Days later, in his weekly television program, rather than fueling suspicions that the money was related to drugs, Diosdado Cabello specifically accused the political opposition of being the recipient of this money, although he failed to provide any evidence.
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Corruption is Worth $3 Trillion – and Growing | Steve Almond | LinkedIn

Corruption is Worth $3 Trillion – and Growing | Steve Almond | LinkedIn | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
In the fight against corruption, business and governments should be on the same side.

If corruption were an industry it would be the world’s third largest, accounting for around five percent of Global GDP. Corruption is a corrosive evil; it’s bad for business, bad for government, and very bad indeed for society as a whole. It’s also a topic that attracted quite a bit of attention at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

For companies, tackling corruption adds significant costs in areas like enhancing systems and controls, recruiting staff with subject matter expertise and training others. It also presents a major risk to a company’s single most important asset – its brand.

For governments, corruption has a massively negative impact on investment in key areas like infrastructure, healthcare and education, all of which are drivers of social progress, unlike corruption which drives inequality and associated social unrest.

Most governments depend on business to implement their key investment programmes. However in markets where corruption is rife companies are increasingly likely to reduce their investments, preferring to look elsewhere to grow their business and create jobs. Worse still businesses may withdraw entirely from markets where they believe the risk of sanctions or reputation damage exceeds potential economic benefits.

So business and governments need to get on the same side in the fight against corruption and be very vocal about it.
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The rise of 'scam PACs'

The rise of 'scam PACs' | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
a phenomenon that watchdogs say is threatening the integrity of the campaign funding system, and that conservative leaders worry could seriously undermine their interests headed into 2016. Since the tea party burst onto the political landscape in 2009, the conservative movement has been plagued by an explosion of PACs that critics say exist mostly to pad the pockets of the consultants who run them. Combining sophisticated targeting techniques with fundraising appeals that resonate deeply among grass-roots activists, they collect large piles of small checks that, taken together, add up to enough money to potentially sway a Senate race. But the PACs plow most of their cash back into payments to consulting firms for additional fundraising efforts.

A POLITICO analysis of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission covering the 2014 cycle found that 33 PACs that court small donors with tea party-oriented email and direct-mail appeals raised $43 million — 74 percent of which came from small donors. The PACs spent only $3 million on ads and contributions to boost the long-shot candidates often touted in the appeals, compared to $39.5 million on operating expenses, including $6 million to firms owned or managed by the operatives who run the PACs. POLITICO’s list is not all-inclusive, and some conservatives fret that it’s almost impossible to identify all the groups that are out there, let alone to rein them in.

“These groups have the pulse of the crowd, and they recognize that they can make a profit off the angst of the conservative base voters who are looking for outsiders,”
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Future of Law and Justice - Government 2020

Future of Law and Justice - Government 2020 | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
As crime becomes more high-tech in 2020, so does policing: drones act as eyes in the sky, while crime-prevention officers on the ground use wearable computing, facial-recognition and predictive video to fight crime and protect public safety.
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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Must Answer for a Culture of Corruption

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Must Answer for a Culture of Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Three weeks after the Moreland Commission—which Governor Cuomo founded in 2013—was due to release its report on public corruption in New York State, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested by federal authorities on charges of taking millions in bribes and kickbacks.

What happened?

Andrew Cuomo abruptly shuttered the Commission in March 2014, later claiming that its work of rooting out corruption in New York State politics was a “phenomenal success.”

Reports later showed that the Governor’s office, including his top aides, interfered in the Commission’s work, requesting that subpoenas served against groups with ties to Cuomo be pulled back.

The federal charges against Sheldon Silver detail how the Moreland Commission attempted to subpoena information from the Speaker regarding his outside income.

Instead, Silver used the resources of the Assembly to fight the subpoenas at taxpayers’ expense.

Sheldon Silver will have to answer the particular charges of corruption he is facing. But as the Governor who promised to root out corruption, Andrew Cuomo has to answer for a culture of secrecy and corruption, an Old Boys Network that has gotten worse, not better, since he took office.

After Andrew Cuomo unceremoniously shuttered the Commission, the subpoenas were withdrawn—until U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara’s office incorporated the work into its own investigation, resulting in charges of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.”

The allegations represent a massive breach of the public trust, and Sheldon Silver should step down as Speaker of the Assembly; the charges impair his ability to claim a leadership role. Mr. Silver should also immediately and publicly answer all questions about the charges.

But beyond just holding Sheldon Silver accountable, we need real leadership in New York to stand up against corruption on all levels.

If Governor Cuomo had allowed the Moreland Commission to fulfill its mission without interfering in its operations, these charges might have been brought earlier, perhaps before the November 2014 elections, and without requiring federal authorities to step in.

When he ran for office in 2010, Andrew Cuomo promised to clean up Albany.

Five years later, just one day after delivering the first State of the State speech of his second term—in which he gave only a passing mention of public corruption—a man who was featured prominently in the governor’s address was arrested on federal charges.
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PressTV-Romans hold anti-corruption demo

PressTV-Romans hold anti-corruption demo | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The Night of Honesty demonstration was held on Saturday, when some 20,000 people gathered at People’s Square in the wake of recent reports that kickbacks and bribery cost the country more than USD 67 billion a year.

The demonstrators were angry at the high level of corruption in the country.

“My income in the year 2008 amounted to about 28,000 euros and… in 2013 it was 5,000. In Italy one has to be the dishonest to make ends meet,” said one protester.

According to experts, one of the main factors behind the rate of corruption in Italy is the lack of professional integrity among local and national representatives.

“The ruling… members of the parliament must be chosen by people, not parties. Our electoral law is ridiculous,” another protester said.

Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.
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Ponzi Schemes Continued To Proliferate In 2014 | Jordan Maglich | LinkedIn

Ponzi Schemes Continued To Proliferate In 2014 | Jordan Maglich | LinkedIn | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Despite a burgeoning economy, increased regulation, and heightening scrutiny on financial crime, data compiled by Ponzitracker shows that Ponzi schemes continued to be uncovered at a steady pace in 2014 and result in numerous and lengthy prison sentences for the perpetrators. In 2014, at least 70 Ponzi schemes involving more than $1.5 billion in investor funds were uncovered - equating to the discovery of a new scheme every five days. Additionally, nearly 1,500 years in prison sentences were handed down in 2014 to at least 136 individuals for their involvement in Ponzi schemes. Analysis of this data, illustrated in the below database and assembled with the assistance of Alison Jimenez at Dynamic Securities Analytics, suggests that the era of the Ponzi scheme is unfortunately here to stay for at least the near future.
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Prosecutor urges reform after charging NY speaker with corruption

Prosecutor urges reform after charging NY speaker with corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan said on Friday he hoped that criminal charges brought against New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would mark a "turning point for reform" to stop rampant corruption in the state's capital.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said New Yorkers should be angry that the capital, Albany, houses "one of the most corrupt governments in the nation," with lawmakers more likely to be arrested than tossed out of office by voters.

"If ever there was a moment for real reform, I think it's now," Bharara told an overflow crowd in a speech at New York Law School in downtown Manhattan.

Silver, 70, was charged on Thursday with five criminal counts stemming from a lengthy corruption investigation, accused of pocketing $4 million over more than a decade from bribes and kickbacks through his association with two law firms.

At least nine other current or former state legislators have been criminally charged by Bharara's office since 2009.

Silver, speaker of the state Assembly since 1994, has been a leading voice in Albany for years of negotiations over state budgets and key legislation.

He is also among Albany's most powerful men, alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, holding an outsized sway in state government.

Bharara said that concentration of power in the "three men in the room," as the men are widely known, may be part of the problem.

He questioned whether New Yorkers had come to accept the status quo, and whether the system discouraged others from seeking public office.

"If you know you won't have power unless you're one of the lucky three, why would you waste time and be bothered to join the legislature in the first place?" he said.
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How Corruption Affects Emerging Economies?

How Corruption Affects Emerging Economies? | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Economies that are afflicted by a high level of corruption -- which involves the misuse of power, whether in the form of money or authority, in order to achieve certain goals in illegal, dishonest or unfair ways -- are not capable of prospering as fully as those with a low level of corruption. Corrupted economies are just not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation's political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer. According to the World Bank, the average income in countries with a high level of corruption is about a third of that of countries with a low level of corruption. Also, the infant mortality rate in such countries is about 3 times higher and the literacy rate is 25% lower. No country has been able to completely eliminate corruption, but studies show that the level of corruption in countries with emerging market economies is much higher than it is in developed countries. (For related reading, see: Should You Invest In Emerging Markets?)  The map below illustrates the varying levels of corruption perception in different countries, with darker colors representing higher levels of corruption perception in 2014 in a continuum that ranges from low corruption (light colors) to high corruption levels. Based on this map we see that the regions with developed economies -- North America, Western Europe and Australia -- are characterized by low levels of corruption. In contrast, a high perception of corruption is reported in almost all countries with emerging economies.
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Over 53,000 officials probed for corruption in China in 2014

Over 53,000 officials probed for corruption in China in 2014 | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
China's disgraced former security czar was among the 53,000 officials being investigated for corruption in the first 11 months of 2014, under a major anti-graft campaign launched by President Xi Jinping.

Zhou Yongkang, a top security official during former President Hu Jintao's regime, was being probed along with his relatives for corruption.



Zhou was a member of the 17th Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest decision-making body.

Zhou was arrested and expelled from the ruling Communist Party last month, becoming the most senior communist official to face prosecution since the 1980s.

More than 53,000 officials from various departments, including former vice chairman of the Military Commission Xu Caihou were also being probed.

The total number of people being probed went up by 7 per cent last year as compared to the same period in 2013, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said today.

The SSP, however, did not elaborate how many of those being probed were prosecuted.

Meanwhile, Liao Shaohua, a former Communist Party chief of Zunyi City in Guizhou province, today confessed in the Xian Intermediate People's Court that he accepted bribes totalling more than 13 million yuan (USD 2.1 million).
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Virginia ex-governor's law license suspended after corruption conviction

Virginia ex-governor's law license suspended after corruption conviction | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A disciplinary board of the Virginia State Bar said on Friday it had suspended the law license of former Governor Robert McDonnell after his conviction on 11 felony federal corruption charges.

The state bar cited the felonies as the reason for his disbarment, which is effective Jan. 29.

McDonnell is scheduled to report to prison on Feb. 9 to begin a two-year sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge James Spencer. He has appealed his September conviction, which followed a six-week jury trial, to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
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NCAA investigating academic fraud at 20 schools, per report

NCAA investigating academic fraud at 20 schools, per report | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The NCAA is investigating allegations of academic misconduct on the campuses of 20 member schools, the association's head of enforcement told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

While no schools were named in the report, the official did say that 18 cases are in Division I, with one in Division II and one in Division III. The cases are all in different stages, and involve a wide range of allegations of impermissible assistance from professors, academic advisers or third-party representatives from outside the athletic department.

The report goes on to detail the NCAA's increased investment of resources into punishing academic fraud at its member institutions, including the establishment of a academic integrity group within its enforcement department and additional training for the association's investigators.

These cases could involve any number of sports within the Division I structure (Georgia's recent issues in the swimming and diving program, for example, is mentioned in the article), but the ongoing investigation at North Carolina will continue to be the most frequently mentioned case on the national radar.

An independent report by Kenneth Wainstein, released in October, found that students and student-athletes at UNC had benefited from no-show classes in the African-American Studies department for 18 years. That report was sent to the NCAA, which announced in June 2014 that it had reopened an investigation in academic fraud after the cooperation of key witnesses.
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