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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.<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 | Scoop.it

*** 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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PANAMA: El sobrecosto= impunidad para la corrupción

Ha sido una constante en los denominados países del tercer-mundo, desde finales del siglo pasado, que los gobernantes y burócratas, combinados convenientemente con empresarios inescrupulosos, adopten las malas prácticas de corrupción que se han desarrollado nocivamente en un número plural de naciones del primer-mundo.

La doctrina de la corrupción cada día suma más estudiantes, adeptos y fanáticos en todo el orbe. Es una carrera de estudios que no necesita textos impresos, aulas, campus, investigación científica y que gradúa masivamente a cientos de miles ‘profesionales de la corrupción' en un tiempo muy breve y que es gratuita dado que es financiada por el erario y los contribuyentes de cada país.

La vorágine de la corriente neoliberal ha implementado, con éxito, en las últimas cuatro décadas un ‘producto derivado' que se conoce como ‘el sobrecosto'. Este ‘producto' se ha convertido en una verdadera pesadilla para la población desprotegida, ya que su cliente más importante es el presupuesto del Gobierno central y sus instituciones, al cual le cercena un alto porcentaje destinado para obras y asistencia social.

La comunidad de contadores públicos autorizados, en especial aquellos profesionales al servicio del Estado, ha soslayado su responsabilidad ética, no solo de denunciar este tipo de prácticas, sino la obligación de prevenirlas en un grado máximo. Se ha confundido de forma complaciente el sobrecosto, que no es reconocido dentro de los principios básicos, como parte del concepto teórico de costo. Es tan usual que el término ‘sobrecosto' se mencione regularmente en los medios de comunicación, que para la población se ha hecho común, pero sin llegar a conocer los alcances y sus devastadoras consecuencias.

Es una obligación ética del contador público autorizado resaltar en su informe de auditoría, en las notas de los estados financieros, en sus informes periciales cuando se detecte la incidencia del sobrecosto, tanto como parte de las erogaciones como de los ingresos. Sí, esto no es solo delito cuando se paga el sobrecosto, sino también cuando se recibe. El Código de Ética avalado por la Federación Internacional de Contadores (IFAC, por sus siglas en inglés) estaría siendo violado en dos de sus postulados básicos: profesionalismo y credibilidad. Recordemos que este código ha sido adoptado como ley de la República.

La determinación del sobrecosto es una actividad técnica que debe ser realizada por un profesional idóneo de la contabilidad, que pueda sustentar fehacientemente la concurrencia del sobrecosto, conjuntamente con las personas naturales y jurídicas responsables del mismo. La omisión involuntaria o motivada para utilizar los servicios de un profesional idóneo que dé fe ante los tribunales de justicia sobre la existencia del sobrecosto promueve la Impunidad para la Corrupción. Esto es tanto como no proveerle a la fiscalía que investiga las pruebas idóneas, sino pruebas inviables e insostenibles.

El movimiento neoliberal ha logrado pavimentar la impunidad para el sobrecosto, al no permitir la adopción de modernos y funcionales códigos y leyes penales que castiguen con severidad y prontitud este delito. Súmese a esto la aplicación de obsoletos códigos de ética y normas de auditoría que le permiten a los contadores públicos autorizados no afrontar sus responsabilidades con los usuarios de sus informes.

El incumplimiento de las normas éticas tiene que ser tipificado como un delito; sin embargo, observamos cómo las autoridades investigadoras han omitido sistemáticamente incluir en sus investigaciones por sobrecostos en obras, productos o servicios a los contadores públicos autorizados al servicio de la Contraloría General, Ministerio de Finanzas o en las empresas del sector privado.

Quienes aprueban, administran y controlan los presupuestos estatales se convierten en cómplices de este delito cuando permiten, por omisión o comisión, que el sobrecosto esté presente en la ejecución presupuestaria. La tendencia que muestran los hechos recientes indica que el virus del sobrecosto, como parte de la corrupción endémica, ha llegado y resiste cualquier intento para su erradicación.
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How $500,000 Check That Sat Uncashed Adds to Mexico Scandal

How $500,000 Check That Sat Uncashed Adds to Mexico Scandal | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
For months, Mexicans have been clamoring for more details about Finance Minister Luis Videgaray’s purchase of a luxury house perched at the edge of a lush golf course a couple of hours outside of Mexico City.
Now, documents have been released suggesting that Videgaray completed his purchase of the vacation home after taking office in an unusual deal with a builder who has ties to the government. Videgaray, a former investment banker, paid for the home with three works of art and a personal check dated Jan. 31, 2014. But the $500,000 check wasn’t cashed until almost a year later -- just days before a news report was published questioning the minister’s dealings with the government contractor.
The revelations -- included in thousands of documents released last week as part of a federal investigation into home purchases by the finance minister, the president and his wife that cleared them of wrongdoing -- add to the political soap opera that has dominated the headlines for months and helped undermine public approval of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Arturo Pueblita, a constitutional-law expert at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City. “This is completely irregular and generates a great amount of suspicion.”

Videgaray's $500,000 check wasn't cashed for 10 months. Source: Mexico's Comptroller Website via Bloomberg
In an e-mail Thursday night, Videgaray said he and the home seller agreed that the seller wouldn’t cash his check until he was officially released from the mortgage obligation. He said he’s always acted within the law. The president and first lady have also denied they acted improperly and declined to be interviewed for this article.
The probe was led by the federal comptroller, who reports directly to Pena Nieto, and large portions of his findings -- occasionally almost full pages -- were blacked out, doing little to quell concerns that his administration favors preferred business partners in a nation with a deeply embedded history of corruption and impunity, some opposition lawmakers and political analysts say.
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Corruption Currents: U.K. to Relax Anti-Money Laundering Rules

Corruption Currents: U.K. to Relax Anti-Money Laundering Rules | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Sanctions:

Tehran says the U.S. is holding 19 Iranians for what it said were unfounded sanctions violations. (NY Times)

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is set to receive a windfall after taking control of hundreds of Iranian businesses that do not appear on sanctions lists. But there are still financial sticks at the U.S.’ disposal. (Times of London, Washington Post)

Iran is broadly complying with agreements on curtailing its nuclear program, the IAEA reported. (AP)

Russian media says Canada is losing millions by imposing sanctions on Russia. A Russian sanctions quiz is here. (sputnik, Guardian)

General Anti-Corruption:

Nigeria’s anti-graft chief denied corruption allegations lodged against his agency. (BBC)

Guatemala’s president is facing mounting pressure to resign amid impeachment threats. (AFP, Guardian)

China fired its work safety regulator after the Tianjin blasts, citing corruption. It detained dozens more. (Reuters, Economist, Bloomberg)

Rome’s Mafia families are working together. (The Independent)

Kazakhstan’s anti-corruption efforts are falling short. Corruption still rules Ukraine. (Silk Road Reporters, Foreign Policy)

The former CEO of Centerra Gold was arrested, again, on corruption allegations. The company said there’s no evidence in the case. (Huffington Post)

Deloitte says corruption is weighing on South Africa’s economy. Separately, funds recovered from a money laundering scheme were sent to the asset forfeiture unit. (Cape Business News, BDLive, Times Live)

South Sudan is battling kleptocracy. An interview with the rebel chief is here. (Daily Beast, Al Jazeera)

An Indian court stayed a corruption case against a state chief minister. (Times of India)
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Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak dodging anti-corruption spotlight

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak dodging anti-corruption spotlight | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has cancelled a speech at the world's top anti-corruption conference as he refuses to explain $US700 million ($982 million) in his personal bank account.

Mr Najib was listed as a speaker to the up to 2000 delegates from more than 100 countries attending the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Kuala Lumpur next week.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott was greeted by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur in September last year. Photo: Andrew Meares
But the Prime Minister's photograph and biography have been removed from the website of the conference which the Malaysian government is hosting.

For days Malaysia's social media had been swamped with posts ridiculing Mr Najib's attendance at the conference that is held somewhere in the world every two years.

Mr Najib has made no public comment about his cancellation as tensions rise ahead of planned mass anti-Najib rallies in Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities this weekend.

More than 100,000 protesters are expected to rally in Kuala Lumpur demanding Mr Najib's resignation over Malaysia's biggest scandal in decades, despite police declaring it illegal and threats to arrest rally leaders.

Pro-government groups are also planning counter rallies, raising the possibility of violent confrontations.

Malaysia's government has become paralysed and deeply divided as the country has been transfixed for weeks on how $US700 million found its way into Mr Najib's account in 2013 and where the money is now.

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USA: Former Chicago Comptroller Extradited From Pakistan To Serve Bribery Sentence

Former Chicago city comptroller Amer Ahmad was brought from Pakistan to the United States on Wednesday to serve a 15-year sentence for bribery.

Ahmad was brought to Columbus, Ohio, according to federal authorities. He will go before a federal judge there during a 10 a.m. hearing on Friday.

Back in December 2014, Ahmad was sentenced to 15 years in prison due to charges stemming from a kickback scheme during his tenure as Ohio deputy treasurer.

Ahmad had been imprisoned in Pakistan after fleeing to the country with a fake Mexican passport to avoid prosecution of the Ohio charges filed against him. 
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What Does Political Corruption Mean in the United States?

What Does Political Corruption Mean in the United States? | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
When more Americans see widespread corruption in the US than Brazilians do in Brazil, where there are massive demonstrations against corruption in government, there is something profoundly wrong.
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Denmark reveals €800m tax fraud – the country's biggest

Denmark reveals €800m tax fraud – the country's biggest | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Denmark’s tax authority said on Wednesday that it had alerted police after foreign companies appeared to have drained more than 800m euros from the system in what would be the country’s biggest tax fraud.

“Over the summer we became suspicious after receiving information from a foreign authority,” said Jesper Ronnow Simonsen, head of the Skat tax agency.

“Our own internal investigations have strengthened our suspicions and we have therefore turned the case over to the police.”

Danish police confirmed the investigation and said the case was top priority.

A Skat spokesman was not willing to disclose which country had flagged the matter to Denmark.

The case involves returns on stock, including dividends, in Danish companies paid to foreign companies.

Dividends normally carry a 27% tax in Denmark. Under double taxation agreements, however, foreign companies based abroad are entitled to a refund of part or all of the Danish tax if they have paid tax on the dividend in their country of domicile.

Simonsen said Skat’s investigations showed that “a large network of companies abroad have apparently applied to have their dividend taxes refunded for fictional share holdings, based on falsified documents”.

“The expected criminal fraud in refunds has so far been calculated based on 2120 individual claims totalling some 6.2bn kroner [$940m] in the 2012 to 2015 period.”

The Danish police’s special economic and international crime unit said the case was top priority.

“The treasury and society have possibly been robbed of very considerable funds ... We have a major investigation ahead of us. I envisage a long hard haul to find out what has happened,” the national prosecutor, Morten Niels Jacobsen, said.

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Guatemala Corruption Scandal Shows Positive Signs for Change

Guatemala Corruption Scandal Shows Positive Signs for Change | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The decisive steps taken against politicians caught in Guatemala's growing corruption scandal are signs that positive change could be coming to a poor country long pillaged by its elite, analysts said.

Former Vice President Roxana Baldetti was ordered to stand trial on Tuesday, while Guatemala's Supreme Court took the first step in allowing impeachment proceedings against President Otto Perez Molina in a fraud case that has pushed the country into political crisis and generated large protests.

Analysts said the actions provide hope that a strong attorney general backed by a now-mature and experienced international investigative commission can root out corruption.

“It's very exciting in some ways for those who forever have been deeply concerned about corruption and the elite political class that pillages the state,” said Eric Olson, a Central America expert at the Washington-based Mexico Institute. “They got their hands caught in the cookie jar this time, and it's pretty bad.”

Baldetti faces charges of conspiracy, customs fraud and bribery, based on allegations that she accepted $3.7 million in bribes as part of the customs scandal that forced her from office. The judge has yet to rule whether she will be jailed during the trial.

Prosecutors and the U.N. International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala requested the removal of the president's immunity based on allegations that he too is linked to the network of officials and individuals who received bribes from businessmen to evade import duties.
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Syria pursuing corruption cases against officials

Syria pursuing corruption cases against officials | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
DAMASCUS: Syrian courts are hearing a series of cases against officials accused of corruption and mismanagement, a judge told a newspaper close to the government Thursday. “Numerous cases are currently underway against officials from government institutions accused of embezzling public funds, theft and mismanagement,” Yassin Kahal, a high-ranking Damascus judge, told Al-Watan newspaper.

“There are no exceptions made. The law is applied equally whether to high-ranking officials or ordinary bureaucrats, if the crime is proven,” he said. Kahal said more than 15 cases concerning misuse of public funds were presented each month to the courts in Damascus.

Syria’s embattled President Bashar Assad has regularly insisted that corruption will not be tolerated and has backed an anti-graft drive.

Syria in 2014 ranked 159 out of 175 countries for corruption, according to Transparency International, with graft endemic at all levels.

Anger at corruption and lack of accountability was one of the driving forces in the demonstrations that erupted against Assad’s government in March 2011.
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Guatemalan Supreme Court Approves Motion to Impeach President

Guatemalan Supreme Court Approves Motion to Impeach President | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Amid a growing political crisis in Guatemala, the country’s Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on August 25 to approve a motion by the attorney general to impeach the president.[1] The attorney general identified President Otto Pérez Molina as the head of a corruption scheme that led to the resignation of the country’s vice president and a number of other senior officials. The growing crisis has mired the president’s administration for much of this year, but until now the opposition has been unable to get enough votes in congress to lift the immunity granted to Pérez Molina by Guatemalan law.

As opposition to his continuance in office mounted, Guatemalan President Pérez Molina announced on August 23 through a televised address that he would not resign.[2] He categorically denied all claims that he has ties to the corruption scandal, which led to the May resignation of the country’s former vice president, Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on August 21 and taken to court. The scandal concerns the funneling of taxes into private accounts and offering discounted custom rates for under-the-table payments.[3] Despite growing protests and increasing pressure from those who oppose his continued rule, however, the president continues to reject any responsibility and does not show signs of succumbing to demands for his resignation.[4]

In a statement sent via email to COHA, a U.S. Department of State Spokesperson said the department was closely monitoring the situation in Guatemala. The spokesperson reaffirmed the department’s support in “transparent, independent and impartial legal processes” and noted that the CICIG “has been a proven partner of both the government and people of Guatemala in their efforts to promote the rule of law.” The spokesperson did acknowledge the recent request by Guatemalan prosecutors for the right to impeach the president, but also urged all parties to respect the schedule of national elections and the Guatemalan constitutional process. Earlier in May, the State Department had issued a press release expressing its support of President Pérez Molina and his administration in efforts to address the issue of corruption in Guatemala. The State Department had also urged Guatemalans to support government institutions in investigations and prosecution of corruption and encouraged the president to work closely with the CICIG. However, the CICG has now identified Pérez Molina as complicit in the corruption scandal.
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Banking Conduct and Culture

This study expands on the role of conduct and culture in the governance of the world’s largest financial institutions. The report identifies shortcomings but also good practice in promoting and maintaining a strong banking culture, making a series of recommendations that can be drawn upon by leaders as they seek to address culture in their firms

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COLOMBIA: Casa por cárcel para Otero por escándalo de soborno en la Corte

COLOMBIA: Casa por cárcel para Otero por escándalo de soborno en la Corte | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Detenido en su lujosa cada ubicada en el kilómetro 27 vía chía, el condominio Altos de Yerbabuena, deberá permanecer Helbert Otero, el socio mayoritaria de Fidupetrol, investigado por el escándalo de soborno a los magistrados de la Corte Constitucional.

El juez 50 de garantías decidió cobijarlo con detención domiciliaria tras escuchar la defensa quien argumentó que tiene tres hijos menores de edad que dependen de él.

Según la Fiscalía fue Otero quien contacto al abogado Víctor Maldonado para que sobornara con 500 millones de pesos a los magistrados Jorge Pretelt y Alberto Rojas Ríos para fallar una tutela a favor de Fidupetrol. Le imputó el delito de tráfico de influencias pero él decidió no aceptar y defenderse en un juicio, de ser hallado culpable podría pagar hasta ocho años de cárcel.
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‘Ex-UK Tory chief in Somalia oil bribery’

‘Ex-UK Tory chief in Somalia oil bribery’ | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The UK’s former Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard, faces bribery allegations in connection with a British oil firm operating in Somalia.

A Somali government report, recently leaked to media, has raised new questions about bribery allegations surrounding Soma Oil and Gas which has been chaired by Howard.

The report criticized the British energy firm for paying Somali oil ministry staff salaries that “may indicate a conflict of interest,” RT said.

Also, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office raided Soma’s office in early August as part of a probe into corruption claims following a leaked UN report on the appropriateness of payments made to Somali officials. 

This latest document, viewed by the Wall Street Journal, also features the Somali government criticizing Soma for proposing an oil deal that would leave the country with “a fraction” of the revenue it deserves. 

UN investigators said the company has made USD 690,000 (630,000 euros) worth of payments, which were suspicious. They also alleged that at least USD 580,000, which had been paid since June 2014 as part of a "capacity building program," could have been paid to Somali government officials for corrupt purposes.

Howard, who was leader of the UK Conservative Party from 2003 to 2005, is now a member of the House of Lords.
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The U.N.’s Investigation Wars

The U.N.’s Investigation Wars | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

"Carman Lapointe, a Canadian national who serves as the United Nations’ internal corruption watchdog, marched into the office of the U.N. secretary-general’s chief of staff, Susana Malcorra, this past January with a provocative request. The U.N. Investigations Division, which she oversees, had grown so consumed by interoffice backbiting and score-settling, Lapointe claimed, that she wanted to shut it down and rebuild it from scratch.

Lapointe argued that the division had been hobbled by a bitter legacy of infighting by staff that had diverted investigators from their core mission. “It’s either them or me,” Lapointe told Malcorra, according to a senior U.N. source familiar with the exchange. “The only thing to do is to decapitate that division and start over again.” Lapointe subsequently developed a plan to target the Investigations Division’s director and four other top managers for dismissal.

The U.N.’s Investigations Division was never shuttered, and Lapointe agreed to serve out her five-year term, which ends Sept. 13, as undersecretary-general for the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). But the exchange with Malcorra exposed roiling turmoil at the core of a long-beleaguered U.N. department responsible for preventing fraud and waste in an organization that spends billions of dollars each year and conducts peacekeeping missions in fragile countries around the world.

Lapointe, meanwhile, is struggling to maintain control over the ranks of the world body’s disgruntled and disillusioned crime fighters. Her top investigator has accused her and other senior U.N. officials of abusing their authority. In the past two months, a string of embarrassing stories about her department’s shortcomings has been leaking to the press. For their part, some of the U.N.’s top investigators have lost faith in Lapointe, accusing her of surrendering the independence of her office to accommodate members of the U.N. brass who have long grown allergic to the often unseemly and embarrassing scandals investigators uncover. The U.N.’s top watchdog, they contend, has blatantly undercut their efforts to hold senior officials accountable for wrongdoing.

In a blunt act of defiance, the director of the U.N.’s Investigations Division, Michael “Mick” Stefanovic, an Australian hired by Lapointe in the spring of 2011, went before a closed-door committee of U.N. diplomats in May to decry what he characterized as Lapointe’s collusion with senior officials to conduct a misguided leak investigation into a whistleblower who exposed the sexual exploitation of children by foreign troops in the Central African Republic (CAR). Turning the table on his boss, Stefanovic said Lapointe herself should be investigated for wrongdoing, according to a senior U.N. official.

Stefanovic’s complaint — combined with a whistleblower support group’s leak of damaging internal U.N. communications about the abuses in the CAR — eventually persuaded Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish a blue-ribbon panel in June that is reviewing the U.N. response to the CAR sex abuse scandal as well as the conduct of Lapointe and other top U.N. officials to determine whether they improperly sought to force out a potential whistleblower, Anders Kompass. Since the review was undertaken, the U.N.’s top official in the CAR, Gen. Babacar Gaye of Senegal, and the deputy high commissioner for human rights, Flavia Pansieri, have resigned. U.N. officials claimed that Pansieri resigned to address long-standing health problems. But they confirmed that Gaye had been asked to leave.

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Can corruption be wiped out in Guatemala?

Political corruption, fraud, conspiracy and bribery are allegations currently angering the people of Guatemala.

Investigators allege top government officials received a cut from bribes paid by businesses that wanted to avoid import duties. The scandal has been called ''La Linea'' or ''The Line''.
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USA: Former Arkansas treasurer sentenced to 30 months for bribery

A former Arkansas state treasurer was sentenced in a federal court on Friday to 30 months in prison for bribery in her handling of the state's bond portfolio.

Martha Shoffner, 71 and a Democrat, was convicted in 2014 on federal charges of bribery and extortion. A jury found she had accepted $31,000 in bribes in exchange for steering state business to a former securities salesman.

Prosecutors have said they were seeking 15 to 20 years in prison.

Some of the money was delivered to Shoffner in a pie box at her home, and other payments were made at her office in the state Capitol, prosecutors said.

Shoffner also was ordered to make restitution in the approximate amount of the bribes. 

Shoffner, a former member of the state House of Representatives, resigned shortly after her arrest in 2013. 

The broker, Steele Stephens, was granted immunity by the Justice Department in exchange for his cooperation with FBI agents. He subsequently was fined $25,000 by the Arkansas Securities Department and stripped of his license.

Stephens handled about $2 billion in Arkansas state bond business and earned $2.5 million in commissions during a three-year period ending in 2013. The court determined that $900,000 in commissions were linked to improper transactions.  
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Corruption and a growing democratic deficit threaten the business climate in South Africa

Corruption and a growing democratic deficit threaten the business climate in South Africa | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Is it a surprise that official corruption in South Africa merits its own Wikipedia page?
Not if you talk to mining executives and other people trying to do business in South Africa it isn’t.
Many a CEO will bewail the increasing levels of corruption in the country if asked.
Off the record, at least.
On the record, they’re coy - still all happy smiles, embracing the future of the rainbow nation with open arms.
It’s a reticence that may prove to be one of the great weaknesses of South Africa’s fledgling democracy, placing a question mark over the economic credentials of one of the world’s leading producers of gold and diamonds, and the biggest producer of platinum.
The question is: is it really a democracy? And if it is, how effective are the democratic processes?
That the South African press itself is willing and able to discuss this issue, and that it does so all the time, is an immediate point in favour of democratic legitimacy.
But there are powerful forces ranged against, too.
For, notwithstanding freedom of speech, of movement, and of association, there’s only been one party in power since the 1994 end of apartheid - the ANC.
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People’s Daily executives detained on bribery claims

People’s Daily executives detained on bribery claims | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Two top executives at a Chinese government mouthpiece have been detained on suspicion of bribery, in a move likely to send ripples across the country’s media industry.
Liao Hong, the 52-year-old president and chief editor of the People’s Daily website, was detained by Chinese authorities on Thursday evening. His arrest followed the detention of company vice-president Chen Zhixia, 44, earlier in the day.

The investigation of the two men is the latest probe in a far-reaching anti-graft push by Chinese President Xi Jinping — a crackdown that has ensnared some of the most senior political and business figures in the country, including members of the media.
Rui Chenggang, a prominent television anchor known for his nationalist commentary, abruptly vanished from the airwaves in July 2014, leaving an unexplained empty chair and unused microphone during his scheduled broadcast. The newsman with China Central Television — Beijing’s broadcast monopoly — was later revealed to be in police custody facing corruption charges.
Thursday’s move by Chinese authorities to detain Mr Liao and Mr Chen is unusual given People’s Daily’s longstanding and often vocal adherence to the ruling Communist party’s political doctrine.
The website, People.cn, did not respond to requests for comment.
Earlier this year, the government revoked the licence and closed the website of the 21st Century Business Herald, a prominent business daily, owned by the 21st Century Media Group.
The website allegedly extorted tens of millions of dollars from companies by publishing negative reports and then signing kickback deals to have the stories removed, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
In a televised confession while in police custody, the former president of Shen Hao, the media group, admitted to extortion charges, saying he regretted betraying his profession.
Shares in the Shanghai-listed People.cn on were suspended on Friday afternoon following news of the arrests.
Founded in 1948, the People’s Daily is the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist party, and its editorials and pronouncements are typically viewed as statements of government policy and position.

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Corruption Currents: Ashley Madison Faces Lawsuits

Corruption Currents: Ashley Madison Faces Lawsuits | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Bribery:

Thailand filed bribery charges against a former tourism official and her daughter. They were also charged in the U.S., but the case was stayed pending Thailand’s decision. (Bangkok Post)

Swiss authorities expect to decide in September whether to extradite six soccer officials to face corruption charges in the U.S. (Reuters)

Convicted Brazilian money launderer Alberto Youssef testified to lawmakers that a former opposition presidential candidate took bribe. He didn’t appear to be contacted. In addition, a Brazilian judge said the president’s former chief of staff also took bribes; he hasn’t been charged. A gloomy reality is settling on Brazil. (Reuters, Reuters, Financial Times)

India doesn’t maintain a database of its foreign bribery cases. (India Today)

A Guatemalan judge ruled that a former vice president remain in jail pending trial on bribery charges. (AP)

Bribery is rampant in Bangladeshi land offices. (Daily Star)

Australian police raided the offices of a union as part of a bribery probe. (ABCAustralia)

A prosecutor in Kosovo who allegedly accepted bribes was taken into pre-trial detention. (OCCRP)

A Mississippi prison consultant pleaded guilty to bribing a former corrections commissioner. (Clarion-Ledger)

Richard Bistrong says Canada’s leading the way on anti-corruption compliance and he began a video series. It doesn’t take a hero not to pay a  bribe, Tom Fox says.

Cybercrime:

Lawsuits over the Ashley Madison hack are coming. Can federal employees be fired for adultery? (Financial Times, Washington Post)

Go on the trail of cybercriminals here. (PRI)

Money Laundering:

The head of a Pakistani political party was summoned to the U.K. as London began a money-laundering case. (Daily Times)

Indian regulators are stepping up their fight against tax evasion, but the Swiss aren’t fully cooperating. HSBC spilled some beans, though. (PTI, PTI, DNAIndia)

Nigeria’s central bank warned of a new type of money laundering. Regional bodies and churches back the country’s anti-money laundering campaign. How does Nigerian graft really work? (TVNewsroom, Business Day, Daily Times, Quartz)

Sudan expects next month an anti-money laundering inspection. (Sudan Tribune)

A Pakistani religious TV host got bail in his money laundering trial. (Express Tribune)

Somali lawmakers revealed alleged money laundering at the finance ministry. (Somali Current)

Marijuana will be an all-cash business in New York. (Village Voice)
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What? 141 Counties Have More Voters Than People

What? 141 Counties Have More Voters Than People | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) has put 141 counties on notice across the United States that they have more registered voters than people alive. PILF has sent 141 statutory notice letters to county election officials in 21 states. The letters are a prerequisite to bringing a lawsuit against those counties under Section 8 of the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

The letters inform the target counties that it appears they are violating the NVRA because they are not properly maintaining the voter rolls. The NVRA (also known as Motor Voter) requires state and local election officials to properly maintain voter rolls and ensure that only eligible voters are registered to vote. Having more registrants than eligible citizens alive indicates that election officials have failed to properly maintain voter rolls.

States with counties which received a notice letter are (# of counties): Michigan (24), Kentucky (18), Illinois (17), Indiana (11), Alabama (10), Colorado (10), Texas (9), Nebraska (7), New Mexico (5), South Dakota (5), Kansas (4), Mississippi (4), Louisiana (3), West Virginia (3), Georgia (2), Iowa (2), Montana (2), North Carolina (2), Arizona, Missouri, New York (1 each). Federally produced data show the letter recipients have more registrants than living eligible citizens alive. (A sample letter is can be found here.)

Lawyers for PILF have previously brought lawsuits against other counties that failed to clean up voter rolls after receiving a notice letter. The notice letters also seek access to public information about voter roll maintenance efforts. The United States Justice Department also can bring lawsuits to fix corrupted voter rolls but has failed to do so during the Obama administration.

“Corrupted voter rolls provide the perfect environment for voter fraud,” said J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of PILF. “Close elections tainted by voter fraud turned control of the United States Senate in 2009. Too much is at stake in 2016 to allow that to happen again.”

The Public Interest Legal Foundation will monitor responses by the 141 counties and remedial clean-up efforts. 

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Guatemala president urged to resign 'to prevent unrest'

Guatemala president urged to resign 'to prevent unrest' | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Thousands of protesters have continued to take to the streets of Guatemala's capital to pressure President Otto Perez Molina to resign over his alleged involvement in a major corruption scandal, as the government comptrollers' office urged him to quit "to avoid greater social unrest".

A national strike was also launched on Thursday over the country's largest political crisis in recent history, a day after the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could strip him of immunity from prosecution over a multi-million-dollar customs fraud scheme.

Businesses and government offices were closed as Al Jazeera's David Mercer, reporting from Guatemala City, said that "thousands, if not tens of thousands" of demonstrators gathered in the capital's centre, including around the national palace, on Thursday.

"There have been four months of protests, which have culminated today," he said.

"There is a real show of force calling upon all politicians to clean up their act and bring transparency."

Ministers resigning

The attorney general, who is trying to launch the impeachment process against Molina, urged Molina to leave his post "to prevent ungovernability that could destabilise the nation".

Five of Molina's 13 cabinet ministers have resigned over the corruption scandal since Friday, as have eight vice-ministers, two secretaries and other government officials.

His administration's former ministers of defence and the interior, who had resigned recently over the graft allegations, have both left Guatemala, the country's immigration service confirmed.
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Mexico’s President Can’t Shake Cronyism Doubts After Probe

Mexico’s President Can’t Shake Cronyism Doubts After Probe | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto last week was cleared of wrongdoing in a six-month investigation of whether his government improperly awarded construction contracts, a development that should have been good news.
Yet because the probe was led by an auditor who Pena Nieto appointed, and who reports to him, it did little to quiet critics or quell concern about favoritism to preferred business partners by his administration.
Ricardo Anaya, head of the National Action Party, Mexico’s largest opposition bloc, called the conclusion an “offensive joke.” The Democratic Revolutionary Party, the third-largest group, said the verdict “lacks credibility, is unacceptable, inadequate and biased,” and urged congress to probe the purchase of homes that Pena Nieto, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray and First Lady Angelica Rivera bought from government contractors.
Here are some of the reasons critics remained unsatisfied with Public Comptroller Virgilio Andrade’s report:
The Conflict of Interest Question
Firms owned by businessmen Juan Armando Hinojosa and the late Roberto San Roman went on to win lucrative government business after selling homes to the politically-powerful trio. But Pena Nieto’s handpicked investigator said that wasn’t a conflict of interest under Mexican law because the houses were bought before Pena Nieto and Videgaray became federal officials.
When Pena Nieto bought the vacation home at an exclusive golf club in Ixtapan de la Sal in 2005, he was governor of Mexico’s most populous state and an aspiring politician in the nation’s long-dominant party. When Videgaray bought his home, he was leading the president’s transition team after having managed the successful 2012 election campaign, and was one month away from becoming the nation’s top financial official.
Plausible Deniability?
Andrade’s investigation found that companies tied to Hinojosa and the San Roman family have 33 contracts with the federal government, but said Pena Nieto and Videgaray played no role in awarding any of them.
Yet at least one government deal with a company controlled by Hinojosa was for a contract providing air transport services to four development banks where Videgaray, as finance minister, serves as chairman of the board.
Furthermore, a unit of Hinojosa’s company, Grupo Higa, was part of a consortium that won a $4.3 billion contract for a high-speed rail link between Mexico City and Queretaro. The contract, one of the biggest of Pena Nieto’s term, was canceled days before the revelation that the first lady bought a Mexico City mansion from Hinojosa. The government hasn’t explained the cancellation.
Videgaray, in an open letter to the Mexican public posted on his Twitter page on Friday, apologized for actions that he said contributed to increased public distrust of government, while adding that he didn’t violate any law or code of ethics. The Finance Ministry didn’t respond to a Bloomberg News request for Videgaray to provide more information on the detailed conclusions of Andrade’s report.
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Guatemala President Faces Arrest as Business Interests and U.S. Scramble to Contain Uprising

Guatemala President Faces Arrest as Business Interests and U.S. Scramble to Contain Uprising | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

n Guatemala, a judge has ordered that former Vice President Roxana Baldetti must remain in prison while her corruption trial takes place. The ruling comes on the heels of the Guatemalan Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to lift the immunity from prosecution for President Otto Pérez Molina, clearing the way for his impeachment. The court passed the impeachment recommendation along to Congress. A general strike has been called in Guatemala for today. We are joined by Allan Nairn, longtime journalist who has covered Guatemala since the 1980s.
AMY GOODMAN: In Guatemala, a judge has ordered former Vice President Roxana Baldetti must remain in prison while her corruption trial takes place. The ruling comes on the heels of the Guatemalan Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to lift the immunity from prosecution for President Otto Pérez Molina, clearing the way for his impeachment. The court passed the impeachment recommendation along to Congress. Miguel Pineda is a spokesperson for the Guatemalan Supreme Court.
MIGUEL PINEDA: [translated] Today, all Supreme Court judges met for an extraordinary session regarding a request for the impeachment of President Otto Pérez Molina. Because of this, they met with the head magistrate of the Second Chamber of the Criminal Court of Appeals, Magistrate Gustavo Dubón. They then studied the case, and after their respective analysis, they established that there exists the possibility of transferring the case to the republic’s Congress. Consequently, the request has been passed on to the republic’s Congress for its resolution.

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