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Filipino Corruption Witness Pledges to Return Loot


A star witness in a corruption scandal implicating powerful Philippine lawmakers publicly acknowledged her role Thursday in deals that defrauded the government of large amounts of anti-poverty funds and pledged to return nearly $1 million in kickbacks she received from corrupt deals.

Businesswoman and socialite Ruby Tuason testified at a televised Senate committee hearing that she decided to tell the public what she knew of the corruption and the alleged involvement of two prominent senators after watching the misery of many poor Filipino survivors of a powerful typhoon last November.

Originally among those facing corruption complaints, Tuason later was allowed by the Department of Justice to become a state witness after offering to disclose details of the alleged large-scale graft. She said she decided to return recently from the United States, where she hid for months, despite the risks because she felt so guilty.

"I really actually even felt like I was Judas Iscariot," Tuason

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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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BRAZIL: Prosecutors seek to freeze Brazilian tycoon's assets

BRAZIL:  Prosecutors seek to freeze Brazilian tycoon's assets | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
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PHILIPPINES: Ex-Makati vice mayor says he got P80-M kickback in Makati building project

PHILIPPINES:  Ex-Makati vice mayor says he got P80-M kickback in Makati building project | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
After accusing Vice President Jejomar Binay of corruption, former vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado on Thursday told a Senate inquiry panel that he himself received P80 million out of an allegedly promised P120-million share of proceeds from the construction of Makati City Building 2.

In his testimony before a Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee chaired by Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Mercado claimed that then Mayor Jejomar Binay promised him a P120-million cut from the Makati building budget, but was given only an aggregate amount of P80 million in smaller tranches to be used for his election campaign.

Mercado said: "Pinangakuan po ako ni Mayor Jojo Binay at [the late] Nelson Morales, former city engineer of Makati, na bibigyan ako ng halagang P120 million para sa kampanya ng aming buong partido."

Mercado said that after the local election of 2010, Morales apologized to him for not coming across with the full promised amount on grounds that he and Binay happened to belong to opposing camps. Binay and Mercado had a serious falling out just before the 2010 elections, with Mercado ending up on a separate slate fighting Binay's son Jejomar Erwin "Junjun," who won the mayorship.

Mercado claimed that Binay asked him to find ways of raising P1 billion for the former Makati mayor's bid for the vice presidency, for the mayoralty bid of his son, JunJun, and the re-election campaign of Congresswoman Abigail Binay.
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Wilmington Trust to pay $18.5 million in fraud case

Wilmington Trust to pay $18.5 million in fraud case | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Wilmington Trust reached an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to pay $18.5 million to settle charges that it made false and misleading disclosures concerning its past due loans over multiple quarters in 2009 and 2010.

The bank, which was acquired by M&T Bank Corp. in an 11th-hour deal in 2011, will disgorge the money to settle the accounting and disclosure fraud charges, according to the SEC.

"Improper application of accounting principles by Wilmington Trust had the effect of misleading investors about a key credit quality metric during a time of significant upheaval and financial distress for the bank," said Andrew J. Ceresney, the SEC's director of the Division of Enforcement. "Investors must know when banking institutions are unable to recover on material amounts of outstanding loans, which means those institutions must carefully adhere to relevant accounting rules."

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Lecture: The Particulars Of Corruption

Lecture: The Particulars Of Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

"...three types of corruption: graft (theft of government funds), extortion (extracting money using threats), and bribes (taking money to turn a blind eye).

He first focused on the individual decision maker: do corrupt officials respond to incentives and punishments? To answer this question, Olken travelled to Indonesia. It turns out that graft in road projects is a huge problem there, as some Indonesian bureaucrats’ ingenious way of skimming off funds is to literally skim off the road. While the top layer looks as fresh as any newly-laid bed of asphalt does, the inside remains emptier in substance than your Lit Hum essay. This makes the road deteriorate much quicker, and as an economist would tell you, reduces the efficiency of road-building significantly.

So, Olken and his team of economist-engineer minions did a few things to figure out if and how corrupt officials respond to changes in policy. First, they picked villages slated to receive funds for a new road, and informed them that their village had been picked for an audit. They measured the amount of funds misallocated by building their own road and figuring out its composition, then taking samples of the concerned roads and comparing the two. Turns out, the control groups had approximately 28% of funds misallocated, while the audited roads had about 19% missing. While a 9% increase in efficiency is desirable, the fact that corruption still occurred when there was a 100% chance of being audited means that “the likelihood of punishment” is too low. Surely enough, the auditors couldn’t find any prosecutable evidence, only inaccuracies in the books and missing receipts, etc."

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Few and Far : The Hard Facts on Stolen Asset Recover

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USDOJ: Two Men, Including Former Car Salesman at Prominent Los Angeles Dealership, Charged with Conspiring to Roll Back Odometers in Large-Scale Scheme That Defrauded Car Buyers

USDOJ: Two Men, Including Former Car Salesman at Prominent Los Angeles Dealership, Charged with Conspiring to Roll Back Odometers in Large-Scale Scheme That Defrauded Car Buyers | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

“ Victims of odometer fraud lose thousands of dollars on what can turn out to be unreliable and potentially dangerous vehicles ,” said Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “To help ensure that Americans can have confidence in the cars they buy, we will continue to prosecute car salesmen and others who violate federal law by tampering with a vehicle’s odometer.” 

 

Levy was a salesman at Galpin Ford in North Hills, California.  Levy referred customers and friends to his co-conspirator, Salpeter, who rolled back odometers in the driveway of his Woodland Hills residence.  Levy is alleged to have known that some of these people had exceeded the maximum allowed mileage under the terms of their leases and wished to avoid fees and penalties.  According to the charges, Levy also knew that other customers wanted to lower the mileage on their odometers to make their vehicles more valuable when they traded in the vehicles.  After Salpeter altered the odometers, Levy’s customers returned or traded in their vehicles with falsified lower mileage readings.  Levy then accepted the vehicles without alerting Galpin Ford that the odometer readings were false, thus defrauding future owners of the vehicles.  Galpin Ford cooperated with the government’s investigation.  

 

Salpeter altered odometers for friends, acquaintances and strangers, including customers referred by Levy.  Salpeter charged between $100 and $400 per odometer and used electronic tools to set the odometer to the mileage requested by his customer.      

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USDOJ: County Deputy Auditor in Indiana Charged with Embezzlement and Tax Fraud

USDOJ: County Deputy Auditor in Indiana Charged with Embezzlement and Tax Fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

A former LaPorte County deputy auditor has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Indiana for embezzling over $150,000 from the LaPorte County government and committing tax fraud... 

The indictment returned on Sept. 10, 2014, charges Mary Ray, 66, of La Porte, Indiana, with two counts each of theft of government monies and of making false statements on a tax return.  

 According to the indictment, from September 2011 through December 2012 and while she was working as an auditor, Ray embezzled more than $5,000 from LaPorte County, which had received more than $10,000 in federal benefits in both 2011 and 2012.

 The indictment also alleges that Ray underreported her income on her U.S. Individual Tax Returns in 2011 and 2012 by failing to report the embezzled funds.   

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Elizabeth Warren demands jail time for Wall Street bankers

Elizabeth Warren demands jail time for Wall Street bankers | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped Federal Reserve officials Tuesday for not putting a single Wall Street banker behind bars for their role in the financial collapse...

“After the savings and loans crisis, the government brought over 1,000 criminal prosecutions and got over 800 convictions,” the Massachusetts Democrat told regulators at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, the Examiner reported.

Ms. Warren fumed at the regulators after Federal Reserve Gov. Daniel Tarullo acknowledged that the agency might not have referred any bank executive to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

Wall Street executives, however, have negotiated billions of dollars in payments to the federal government to settle accusations of banks’ mortgage shenanigans.

“The main reason we punish illegal behavior is for deterrence to make sure that the next banker who’s thinking about breaking the law remembers that the guy down the hall was hauled out in handcuffs when he did that,” Ms. Warren said. “The message to every Wall Street banker is loud and clear: If you break the law, you are not going to jail, but you might end up with a bigger paycheck.”

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon received a hefty bonus after negotiating a settlement with the feds over his bank’s involvement in the mortgage crisis.

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USA: BOEING procurement officer pleads guilty for taking bribes from suppliers

USA: BOEING procurement officer pleads guilty for taking bribes from suppliers | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Via Andre JACQUEMET
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Feds have no idea the extent of SNAP fraud, says Iowa official

Feds have no idea the extent of SNAP fraud, says Iowa official | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Wendy Dishman is the administrator of the Investigative Division of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, which has been in investigating fraud committed by SNAP recipients in the state ever since the days when the program was known as the Food Stamp Program.

Dishman says the Food and Nutrition Service, the division of USDA that runs SNAP, doesn’t even have reliable data on the extent of fraud committed by recipients.

“There’s a lot of inconsistencies in the data they collect,” Dishman told Iowa Watchdog.

FNS investigates cases of SNAP fraud committed by vendors, but leaves it to the states to investigate fraud by benefit recipients.

In 2013, DIA investigated 2,499 cases of potential fraud by SNAP recipients. In 1,749 of the cases, DIA discovered recipients had either provided incorrect information to theIowa Department of Human Serives, which administers SNAP benefits in the state, or had committed some form of deliberate fraud.

“If we can’t prove that it was an intentional violation, we turn the information over to DHS, so it can collect the overpayment,” Dishman explained. “If we can prove it was intentional, there’s an administrative hearing process that will result in sanctions.”

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McDonnell case shows flaws of anti-corruption system

Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell was convicted of fraud because he solicited money from a private company to act on its behalf rather than in the interest of the people...

 

The fraud theory works like this: As governor, McDonnell was supposed to act on behalf of the people of Virginia. Instead, he solicited money from a private company to act as needed on its behalf, thus defrauding Virginians of a (small) portion of McDonnell's "honest services." The extortion theory is similar. McDonnell obtained private property that he was not entitled to in return for a promise to perform official acts or, in the language of the statute, obtained money under "color of official right."

These commonly invoked charges are powerful anti-corruption tools: so powerful, in fact, that they appear to criminalize wide swaths of U.S. politics. Companies, unions and individuals give generously to politicians and their surrogates every year. An industrious prosecutor could find boatloads of officials who benefited from these gifts and then took action on behalf of those entities. Is this also "honest services" fraud and extortion? Legally speaking, the answer is: Who knows? The distinction between a successful fundraiser and a diabolical crook is frighteningly subtle.

The Supreme Court insists that there is a clear distinction between the felony offenses that upended McDonnell and our tried-and-true system of allowing private entities and individuals to shower government officials with campaign contributions and other gifts. That distinction comes down to the contents of the official's mind. To prove "honest services" fraud or political extortion, a prosecutor must show that someone like McDonnell accepted a particular donation with the understanding that he would perform official acts in return. This agreement to trade gifts for acts is all that separates "politics as usual" from felony corruption.



Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/jeffrey-bellin-mcdonnell-case-shows-flaws-of-anti-corruption-system/article_8885a876-fac9-5f7e-bc63-636e969ae620.html#ixzz3D2iRE3IU

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China’s anti-corruption trillions

In the Report on the Work of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (8 May 2014), the government disclosed that there were 2,581 corruption cases valued at CNY1mn or above in 2013, resulting in recovery of CNY10.14bn in illegal proceeds. Reuters reported on 30 Mar 2014 that Chinese authorities had seized assets valued at at least CNY90bn related to the Zhou Yongkang case. Oriental Daily reported on 1 Jul 2014 that Xu Caihou had turned in CNY1bn-plus of illegal proceeds and may have another HKD10bn tucked away in Hong Kong. We note that reported corruption cases have occurred in some well-oiled sectors, including the military, coal, energy and utilities. With Beijing expanding investigations into local governments’ past land sales and the financial space, on top of the SOEs, total seized assets will likely rise. Hypothetically, if 3% of China’s GDP since 1995 went to corruption, this would total CNY4tn, assuming the amount was compounded at the modest PBOC 1-year benchmark savings rate and a 25% recovery rate. We note the actual amount could be even higher considering the decade-long bull market in various assets.
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Corruption: Freezing of stolen assets linked to public graft rises, but few countries see money returned - study

Corruption: Freezing of stolen assets linked to public graft rises, but few countries see money returned - study | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
When Switzerland returned $64 mln laundered by Angolan officials, Angola used the funds to clear landmines and build hospitals

Via Andre JACQUEMET
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PHILIPPINES: I delivered Binay's kickbacks: ex-vice mayor

PHILIPPINES: I delivered Binay's kickbacks: ex-vice mayor | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The former vice-mayor of Makati on Thursday said he personally delivered millions of pesos in kickbacks to then Makati Mayor and now Vice-President Jejomar Binay. He also claimed Binay was trying to raise a P1 billion war chest for the 2010 vice-presidential election.

Speaking before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, former vice mayor Ernesto Mercado backed the earlier claim of engineer Mario Hechanova, former head of the Makati General Services Department, that building contracts in Makati were rigged to favor certain construction firms.

Mercado said at least 13 percent of building contract costs in Makati went to kickbacks. He said the kickbacks were received by then City Engineer Nelson Morales who would then tell him that the money was already there.

"Sir, nandito na po yung goods. Ipadadala ko ba," he recounted Morales as saying.

He said he personally delivered the money to Binay either in his office at Makati City Hall or in the mayor's own home.

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How Much is Peru's Illegal Mining Worth? - InSight Crime

How Much is Peru's Illegal Mining Worth? - InSight Crime | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

A Peruvian research institute stated that the country's illegal mining industry pulled in $3.4 billion worth of profits over the past seven years, although it's possible the actual profits are much higher.

According to business research institute the Center for Studies of Penal and Business Economic Rights (CEDPE),Peru's illegal mining industry earned $3.4 billion in profits from June 2007 to June 2014, as Peru 21 reported. According to the research institute's analysis – which was presented during a local conference on money laundering, and isn't yet publicly available as a downloadable report – illegal mining cost the Peruvian government over $300 million in lost tax revenue in 2011 alone.

There are other crimes interrelated with illegal mining, as branches of Peru's government have previously observed. Earlier this year, Peru's banking regulatory authority noted that money laundering via illegal mining increased 50 percent from late 2012 to January 201

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Ex-NY assemblyman credited for fighting corruption

Ex-NY assemblyman credited for fighting corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

"A former New York state assemblyman from the Bronx won't serve any time in prison for making false statements because he cooperated..."

 

"The good that you did by cooperating over a period of years exposed and put an end to far more official corruption and misconduct than you engaged in," Engelmayer said, noting the conviction of former Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, who was sentenced to three years in prison for a bribery conviction.

Citing a "long and sorry history of official corruption" in Albany and New York City, the judge said public officials too often talk a good game against corruption but then do nothing about it.

"For all your warts, for all your misdeeds, you did something about it. You covertly tape-recorded public officials and community leaders," the judge said. "You helped clean house."

Castro, a Bronx Democrat, began cooperating in 2009 while still a candidate almost immediately after he was told he was facing a perjury charge in a corruption investigation. For two terms in the Assembly, he wore a wire at times as part of his undercover work. He resigned office after his cooperation was revealed last year. Before the sentence was announced, the government urged leniency from sentencing guidelines that otherwise would have called for a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months.

Castro told the judge he ran for public office because he cared about his neighborhood and its residents. But he said those who elected him to office deserved better.

"I made a series of choices that cannot be excused," Castro said. "I broke rules and violated laws, talking myself into believing that it was all right. None of it was right. It was part of a culture of lies."

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SIGAR | John F. Sopk Remarks Prepared for Deliver Georgetown Universit Washington, D.C

SIGAR | John F. Sopk Remarks Prepared for Deliver Georgetown Universit Washington, D.C | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

"Corruption is another enormous inter-agency challenge facing reconstruction in Afghanistan. The consensus among everyone I speak with is that if corruption is allowed to continue unabated it will likely jeopardize every gain we’ve made so far in Afghanistan.

Corruption destroys the populace’s confidence in their elected officials, siphons off funds that would be used to combat insurgents or build infrastructure, and ultimately leads to a government that is ineffectual and distrusted.

The threat from unabated corruption is especially exemplified right now in light of the ongoing election crisis. A crisis spawned from corruption, which many fear is putting Afghanistan’s entire future in jeopardy.

However, the problem of corruption isn’t new. Experts and SIGAR have been highlighting concerns about corruption for a long time.

Top U.S. officials are very much aware of Afghan corruption. A report commissioned by General Dunford last year noted that “Corruption directly threatens the viability and legitimacy of the Afghan state.” USAID’s own assistant administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Larry Sampler, told Congress that Afghanistan is “the most corrupt place I’ve ever been to.” And Retired Marine Gen. John Allen identified corruption as the biggest threat to Afghanistan’s future an even bigger threat than the Taliban.

The Afghans are also concerned with corruption. In June, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (an Afghan NGO) issued their latest national corruption survey. It found that corruption tied for second as the greatest challenge facing Afghanistan, after security. While 18% of respondents in the 2012 survey said they faced corruption within the last 12 months, 21% of respondents said they faced corruption in the 2014 survey.

The survey also noted that Afghans believe corruption in most public sectors undermined their access to services. The same services the U.S. invested billions in establishing.

For example, 28% of respondents believed that their households were deprived of access to electricity because of corruption and 18% said corruption blocked their access to higher education. The exact same areas where U.S. agencies commonly claim great success. In fact, the corruption percentages for electricity and education are not only up from 2012 but they are also higher than for justice by the courts and security by the police.

In June, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace singled out Afghanistan as an example of a state where governing systems have been bent to benefit one or a very few networks. According to the report, President Karzai regularly calls his attorney general to influence cases or personally orders the release of suspects from pre-trial detention, quashing the cases against them.

This is the same Attorney General that recently threw a respected New York Times reporter out of the country because he didn’t like his reporting. The DOD and the State Department have repeatedly noted that the Afghan AG has deliberately avoided prosecuting either senior officials or individuals with ties to senior officials and stymied the work of the investigatory arm of his own internal-control and monitoring unit.

SIGAR has also had problems with the Attorney General. In one case, SIGAR worked to freeze and seize nearly $70 million in funds, stolen from the U.S. government, that was sitting in Afghan banks. For months we pressed the Attorney General's Office to freeze the money and begin the legal process to seize the cash. At first, we were told the bank account was frozen and the money protected. Unfortunately, as is too often the case, we later learned that the money was mysteriously unfrozen by some powerful bureaucrat in Kabul.

SIGAR has issued a number of reports on U.S. efforts to combat corruption. These reports have continually pointed out that the United States lacks a unified anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan. This is astonishing, given that Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and a country that the United States is spending billions of dollars in.

Yet there has been no progress made toward developing a unified anti-corruption strategy. In fact, things could get worse with the drawdown.

We cannot shy away from the challenge of corruption. We need a strategy, and we need to hold the Afghans feet to the fire on this issue. SIGAR will continue to point out how well or poorly not only U.S. officials but also Afghan officials perform in their promises to reduce corruption."

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Few and Far : The Hard Facts on Stolen Asset Recovery

Few and Far : The Hard Facts on Stolen Asset Recovery | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Corruption has a devastating impact on developing and transition countries, with estimates of $20 billion to $40 billion per year stolen by public officials, a figure equivalent to 20 to 40 percent of flows of official development assistance. The return of the proceeds of corruption--asset recovery--can have a significant development impact. Returns can be used directly for development purposes, such as improvements in the health and education sectors and reintegration of displaced persons, with additional benefits of improved international cooperation and enhanced capacity of law enforcement and financial management officials. Development agencies and those committed to development effectiveness have a role in the asset recovery process. They have made international commitments to fight corruption and recover the proceeds of corruption in the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: Accra Agenda for Actions, held in Accra in 2008, and the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: Partnership for Effective Development, held in Busan in 2011. Despite these efforts, there has been difficulty in translating these commitments into concrete action. This StAR-OECD publication reports on how OECD countries are performing on asset recovery. Drawing on data collected between 2006 and 2012, the report provides recommendations and good practices and suggests specific actions for development agencies.

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Developing countries losing billions to corruption every year

Developing countries losing billions to corruption every year | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

These are times of great political change in the EU. The parliament is now firmly in place and the proposed commission will soon be put to vote. A brand new mandate lies ahead, dotted with opportunities to further strengthen Europe's economy and its position in the global arena. What if through these same policies, and without much budgetary effort, the EU could also help free up to $1 trillion in funds currently being stolen from the world's poorest countries?

According to new research, this is the amount of money that is being siphoned out of developing countries every year as a result of corrupt activity involving shady deals for natural resources, the use of anonymous shell companies, and tax evasion. In developing countries, corruption is a killer. When governments are robbed of their own resources to invest in health care or food security, it costs lives. In Nigeria, funds lost each year to 'oil thieves' could pay for essential services, including vaccinating all 29.7 million children under the age of five. That's three times the population of Sweden, and could save more than a million lives over time.

Why should the EU lose sleep over this? The uncomfortable truth is that much of the money diverted from the budgets of poor countries ends up in EU member states, channelled through banks and secret companies in places such as London, Luxembourg and Nicosia. The key word here is secrecy - it is the opacity around who is behind the companies that allows corruption to thrive. The lax regulatory environment in the EU continues to enable that.

It is in regulation, therefore, that the solution lies. By requiring businesses and governments to be more transparent, we can shine a light on the resource flows and corporate structures that might otherwise harbour shady activities. This is within the remit of what the EU can do, and the opportunities are plenty. For example, soon negotiations on the EU's anti-money laundering rules will kick off. The European parliament has said it wants to make public who owns European companies and trusts, to crack down on the abuse of anonymous shell companies. France and the UK are moving on this too. We'll be looking to the Italian presidency and soon to the new commissioner to bring all member states to this level of ambition.

After all, the best way to fight corruption and money laundering is to ensure that there is no place to hide.

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Crony Capitalism Has Deep Roots

Crony Capitalism Has Deep Roots | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Well, this was predictable. House Republicans last week acceded to an extension of the Export-Import Bank for at least the next nine months. The Export-Import Bank is far from the worst example of government-business cronyism. I just completed a history of American political corruption and actually had to leave Ex-Im on the cutting room floor. Its cronies are pikers compared with the corporate moguls that take advantage of tax preferences like the G.E. and Apple loopholes.
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HP fined $58.7M for bribery of Russian government

HP fined $58.7M for bribery of Russian government | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Hewlett-Packard Co. pleaded guilty Thursday to felony charges that former employees bribed Russian government officials for a contract, and the company has been fined $58.7 million.

Via fcpa-integrity.com
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Los Angeles is 'epicenter' of cartel money laundering, U.S. official says

Los Angeles is 'epicenter' of cartel money laundering, U.S. official says | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Federal agents launched a series of raids in the downtown Los Angeles fashion district on Wednesday and seized an estimated $65 million in cash and other assets they allege were part of a widespread attempt by Mexican drug cartels to launder narcotics profits.

Nine people were arrested in raids targeting 70 locations, many of them businesses in the fashion district.Federal officials said they believe the drug organizations have used numerous businesses in the garment district to convert their vast earnings into pesos, turning Los Angeles into a hub for “trade-based money laundering.”

“Los Angeles has become the epicenter of narco-dollar money laundering with couriers regularly bringing duffel bags and suitcases full of cash to many businesses,” Robert E. Dugdale, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of federal criminal prosecutions here, said in a statement.

Wednesday's seizures included piles of cash and money stashed in bank accounts around the world, federal authorities said.

Agents with the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement infiltrated several peso brokerages operating in Los Angeles, officials said. The undercover officers delivered bundles of cash, sometimes shrink-wrapped in grocery bags, to storefronts in the fashion district, even telling business owners that the money came from drug trafficking.

Operations that launder drug money through legitimate trade have soared since Mexico restricted the use of American dollars in 2010, forcing the cartels to convert their dollars to pesos without tipping off authorities.

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Former USF accountant indicted for wire fraud

Former USF accountant indicted for wire fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

A former accountant for the University of Sioux Falls has been indicted for wire fraud for reportedly collecting more than $25,200 in unearned paychecks.

Brent Alan Fowler, 52, faces 20 counts of wire fraud for individual payroll deposits made between June of 2011 and July of 2012.

Fowler was indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in the U.S. District of South Dakota. The indictment says he submitted the payroll requests using faculty and student names, but transferred the resulting funds into his own accounts.

The checks ranged in value from $343.72 to $2,577.14. It is not immediately clear from the indictment whether the students and faculty whose names were used in the fraud were aware of Fowler’s payroll requests.

Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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PHILIPPINES: Corruption? Follow the money!

PHILIPPINES: Corruption? Follow the money! | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

If we want to really know the full story, the Senate must follow the money. COA is only helpful up to a point because COA auditors, resident or head office based, become part of the scheme or are too intimidated to do a good job. I even doubt if there are any Filipino forensic accountants ready to put career and life on the line to expose the real story.

There may be a need to hire foreign forensic accounting experts to trace the flow of money in suspect deals. There is a need to go beyond the obvious.

For example, favored contractors of government buildings may be guilty not only of overpricing. The bigger story is in possibly actually safekeeping the politician’s share of the loot.

A big construction company is the perfect place to hide such large amounts of money in plain sight… since the construction business involves large amounts of money anyway. Usual audit procedures are not likely to uncover such things easily. The BIR may even find it difficult to do an honest audit because of the strong political links of the big construction firms.

And in the case of that parking building, it would require a foreign expert to put a value on the structure on an as built basis. If they are not doing this yet, then we know they are not serious about that corruption investigation.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Fraud, corruption on the rise in govt

SOUTH AFRICA: Fraud, corruption on the rise in govt | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says statistics suggest that serious cases of fraud and corruption in state departments are on the rise.

The minister has been speaking to journalists in Parliament about government's progress in combatting corruption in state departments and entities.

Over the past four years, President Jacob Zuma has signed 36 proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration.

Radebe also dealt with action by the Anti-Corruption Task Team.

He said the Anti-Corruption Task Team’s target was to convict 100 people for corruption involving more than R5 million by this year.

By the end of March, 548 cases had been identified, a significant amount more than last year's target of 300.

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