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Jillian Kay Melchior - Colorado Health-Exchange Director Indicted for Fraud, Theft

Jillian Kay Melchior - Colorado Health-Exchange Director Indicted for Fraud, Theft | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The director of Colorado’s health exchange has been placed on administrative leave after the state discovered she had been indicted for stealing from a non-profit, the Denver Post reports:


[Christa Ann] McClure, 51, pleaded not guilty Feb. 6 in federal District Court in Montana to eight counts of theft and fraud from a nonprofit housing agency in Billings.

She was indicted Jan. 16 and notified her current Denver employer, the state-sponsored health exchange, on Monday, a few days after the story broke in Montana media, Connect for Health spokesman Ben Davis said in a telephone interview.

Connect for Health performed a criminal background check and checked references before hiring McClure in March, Davis said.

“She was completely clean,” he said. Her position as executive director of Housing Montana of Billings, he said, made her well-qualified for her post as Connect for Health’s director of partner engagement — she was liaison with state and federal partners, such as Medicaid officials. The job pays $130,000 a year.

… McClure, who has not been convicted of any charges, should have informed Connect for Health much earlier of the accusations she was facing, Davis said.

McClure was released pending trial, now scheduled for June. Each of the counts in the indictment against her carry potential penalties of five, 10 or 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The 12-page indictment alleges that, while serving as executive director of the federally funded Housing Montana, McClure, between 2008 and 2010, paid herself “significant sums” for consulting services, although she was already on the payroll as a full-time employee.

She also made payments to her family and used federal money for personal travel, to pay family bills and to buy consulting services, the indictment alleges.

She also is accused of charging homeowners for a $750 warranty that did not exist, converting a laptop for personal use, inflating the hours she was to be compensated and writing herself a $21,000 check to which she was not entitled.

The indictment did not specify the total amount she allegedly embezzled.
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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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Ecuador Quake 'Deathtrap' Perpetrators Will Face Jail: Correa

Ecuador Quake 'Deathtrap' Perpetrators Will Face Jail: Correa | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

cuadorean President Rafael Correa announced the government is prepared to press charges against those responsible for building poorly designed infrastructure in light of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated the country on April 16, killing hundreds and injuring thousands more.

“There are individuals who acted with the intention to save a few extra pennies, and by doing so constructed death traps that were approved by local authorities,” President Correa stated via Twitter.

In the days after the earthquake, recovery officials reported numerous instances of poorly built housing structures. Initial government reports state that 805 buildings were destroyed and 608 were damaged. Meanwhile, preliminary surveys indicate that at least 119 schools have been damaged or collapsed.

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TIGTA Arrests 5 IRS Phone Scammers in Miami

TIGTA Arrests 5 IRS Phone Scammers in Miami | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Agents working with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have arrested five individuals who impersonated Internal Revenue Service employees and demanded payment from taxpayers.

TIGTA agents arrested the five suspects in Miami without incident Monday for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Jennifer Valerino Nunez, Dennis Delgado Caballero, Arnoldo Perez Mirabal, Yaritza Espinosa Diaz, and Roberto Fontanella Caballero are allegedly responsible for nearly $2 million in schemes that defrauded more than 1,500 victims.

Criminal complaints were filed in federal courts in Minnesota, Texas and Arkansas against the suspects. They have been referred to the Justice Department for prosecution and additional legal action.

“These arrests indicate that TIGTA is making significant progress in our investigation of the IRS impersonation scam that continues to sweep the country, resulting in reported taxpayer losses of more than $36 million, averaging more than $5,700 in losses per taxpayer,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “The scammers are relentless and so are we. Our investigators will not rest until we have brought each individual involved to justice.”

The suspects allegedly conspired with others to commit wire fraud by falsely impersonating IRS agents and demanding money under false pretenses. The scam victims received phone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS, who told them the IRS would arrest them if they did not make payment immediately. The callers made these threats and used other methods of intimidation to persuade the victims to wire money, using MoneyGram, Walmart and other wire services.

TIGTA has been monitoring and investigating the IRS impersonation scam since 2013, according to a senior TIGTA official who briefed reporters during a conference call Tuesday. To date, TIGTA has logged approximately 1.2 million calls reported by taxpayers, and nearly 6,400 people have reported that they were fleeced.

The criminals have continued to modify and change their script. In recent months, the scammers have been encouraging victims to pay the money using iTunes cards (see IRS Scammers Demand Payments on iTunes Cards). To date, TIGTA has received 328 reports of people using iTunes cards to pay the scammers.

In some cases, there has been an offshore component in the scams. TIGTA recently made arrests in two other cases in New York and California that had ties to India. In this case, the initial referral came from a complaint made by an elderly taxpayer in Minnesota, who contacted the Senate Special Committee on Aging's Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) last October.

The caller reported that her husband had recently been contacted by an individual claiming to be from the IRS and demanding immediate payment of alleged back taxes. The victim was instructed by the scammer to drive to his local Walmart to wire nearly $2,000 via MoneyGram. On his way to the retailer, the distraught victim crashed his car. The victim was so convinced that the scammer was an authentic IRS agent, however, that he left the scene of the accident to wire the payment in order to avoid the scammer’s threats of possible legal action. The Fraud Hotline investigator who received the victim’s report was able to trace the wire transfer to Minnesota and reported this information to TIGTA

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CHILE: Ex gerente de Corpesca formalizado por soborno fue premiado con $10 millones mensuales por Angelini

CHILE: Ex gerente de Corpesca formalizado por soborno fue premiado con $10 millones mensuales por Angelini | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
El ex gerente de Corpesca, Francisco Mujica, fue formalizado por soborno y delitos tributarios en la audiencia en que se formalizó también por cohecho al senador Jaime Orpis. Los pagos que hizo Mujica a parlamentarios podrían haber puesto fin a su carrera de casi tres décadas en el Grupo Angelini. No fue así: recibió una millonaria indemnización, siguió trabajando para empresas del holding y recibiendo un sueldo de alto ejecutivo. Un hecho que podría complicar aún más la situación de Corpesca, ya que la Fiscalía prepara para los próximos días la formalización de la pesquera como persona jurídica.

Con la medida cautelar de arresto domiciliario nocturno quedó el ex gerente general de Corpesca, Francisco Mujica, luego de que fuera formalizado por soborno y delitos tributarios durante una audiencia que comenzó el martes 24 de mayo y terminó el miércoles 25, pasado el mediodía. También se presentaron los cargos contra el senador Jaime Orpis, a quien la Fiscalía acusa de cohecho, fraude al Fisco y fraude tributario, por haber recibido $233 millones de Corpesca cuando Mujica era gerente.

El ejecutivo debió dejar el cargo en mayo de 2013, luego de que CIPER revelara que había realizado pagos irregulares a la entonces diputada Marta Isasi en el marco de la votación de la Ley de Pesca (ver reportaje). En esa ocasión, Mujica admitió que Corpesca había pagado asesorías a un colaborador de Isasi y que había hecho aportes a otros candidatos que no identificó, por lo que se convirtió en blanco de las pesquisas del Ministerio Público (escuche ese audio). Mujica parecía haber pagado un alto costo profesional, porque se vio obligado a renunciar tras casi tres décadas vinculado a la plana ejecutiva del Grupo Angelini.
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Brazil's senate president caught red-handed truing to stifle the Petrobras investigation

Brazil's senate president caught red-handed truing to stifle the Petrobras investigation | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The president of Brazil's Senate was put on the defensive with the release of a secretly recorded conversation that reveals him proposing to weaken one of the key tools prosecutors have used to catch politicians and businessmen in a sweeping corruption scandal.

The conversation shows Calheiros suggesting legal changes to bar the use of plea bargains with people who have been arrested.

 The released transcript and audio, published by the newspaper Folha de S Paulo, appears to feed widespread suspicions that top lawmakers are trying to stifle investigations into billions of dollars in alleged bribes involving the state oil company, Petrobras.
The conversation shows Senate leader Renan Calheiros suggesting legal changes to bar the use of plea bargains with people who have been arrested. Prosecutors have used such deals, offering lighter sentences to persuade suspects to implicate high-ranking businessmen and politicians, including Calheiros.
“You can't make a plea deal while arrested. That's the first thing,” Calheiros allegedly said in a wide-ranging conversation about the Petrobras probe with Sergio Machado, an ex-senator and former head of another state oil company, Transpetro. Machado also is being investigated.

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Fresh arrests in Car Wash bribery probe

Fresh arrests in Car Wash bribery probe | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Brazil's federal police have made new arrests and are further widening the scope of the Operation Car Wash corruption probe involving Petrobras, now turning their focus on large pipeline manufactures holding contracts with the state-controlled oil company.
According to investigators, Confab - a subsidiary of Argentine multinational Tenaris, and Apolo Tubulars - allegedly paid about 40 million reais ($11.2 million) in bribes between 2009 and 2013 to secure contracts with Petrobras worth up to 5 billion reais.

Prosecutors are also investigating if Vallourec & Mannesmann (V&M), which has contracts worth more than 2 billion reais with Petrobras, was also involved in the kickback scheme.

"We are currently gathering proof regarding V&M, but we don't have evidence of malpractices so far," a federal police delegate told a press conference on Tuesday morning.

The 30th phase of the Car Wash investigation, called Operation Vice, served a total of 39 judicial warrants, including two preventive arrests, 28 orders to seize documents in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo states, and nine coercive detentions, when a person is brought in for questioning but is not arrested.

The people targeted in the investigation are suspected of corruption, criminal organisation and money laundering.

Investigations suggest that a shell construction company was used to facilitate the payment of bribes.
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Corruption Is Catching Up to the Clintons and Their Associates

Corruption Is Catching Up to the Clintons and Their Associates | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign chair, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, is currently under investigation by the FBI and Department of Justice over questionable contributions to his 2013 campaign. According to a recent CNN report, the investigation—which has been going on for at least a year—calls into question Mr. McAuliffe’s service as a board member to the Clinton Global Initiative, a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation. A $120,000 donation from a Chinese businessman, Wang Wenliang, made through U.S.-based businesses, raised red flags with investigators—along with several other donations, like the $2 million he gave the Clinton Foundation.

Governor McAuliffe is just one of several close associates to the Clintons currently under investigation for corruption. Ms. Clinton’s 2008 campaign co-chair, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is under immense pressure to resign thanks to her favoritism for Ms. Clinton throughout the Democratic primaries. Ms. Wasserman Schultz essentially tipped the scale against Senator Bernie Sanders, a violation of the impartiality her position at the DNC demands. Prominent Clinton supporter and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is also under review as part of an ongoing federal investigation into two businessmen with close ties to the mayor. The Podesta Group, implicated in the release of the Panama Papers, was founded by Tony Podesta and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta. Several other prominent donors to the Clinton Foundation have also been linked to the Panama Papers, and the Clinton Foundation itself has been frequently cited as a source of money laundering and exchanging political favors for large donations.

It comes as no surprise that Hillary Clinton’s closest associates are involved in a litany of ethics violations as corruption has been the modus operandi of Ms. Clinton’s campaign for the entire duration of the primaries. Hillary Clinton has publicly vocalized support for campaign finance reform, yet owes much of her success in the primaries to the current corrupt system, which enables her to fundraise unethically, bending and possibly breaking current campaign finance laws. The Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, was recently revealed by Politico to be laundering money to the Clinton campaign to circumvent campaign finance laws. Mr. Sanders’ campaign has also highlighted additional violations and ethical breaches made by the Hillary Victory Fund.
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SWIFT Promises Security Overhaul, Fraud Detection

SWIFT Promises Security Overhaul, Fraud Detection | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

After blaming a recent spate of bank robberies on banks' poor information security practices, SWIFT has somewhat changed its tune, saying that it wants to help financial firms spot related fraud and better share information about unfolding threats.

Gottfried Leibbrandt, SWIFT's CEO, announced the moves on May 24, together with a promise to better secure the SWIFT interbank messaging system.

"Cyber concerns are not new to us at SWIFT. Indeed, ever since I took on this job, cyber risk has been the main thing to keep me awake at night," Leibbrandt said in a keynote speech at the European Financial Services Conference in Brussels. "We work very hard at improving the cybersecurity of our network; every day we wake up and go to sleep thinking about, and protecting against that threat. It is hard work and never done."

SWIFT - short for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication - is a cooperative owned by 3,000 banks, founded in 1973, that bills itself as "the world's leading provider of secure financial messaging services." It's now used by 11,000 banks globally to process 25 million communications daily that collectively account for billions of dollars' worth of transfers.

Naturally, the SWIFT messaging system has long been a target of attackers, since a successful attack - utilizing real-looking but fraudulent messages - would allow thieves to transfer money out of victims' accounts, directly into attacker-controlled accounts. Investigators say that's just how attackers managed to transfer millions of dollars out of Bangladesh Bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (see Bangladesh Bank Heist: Lessons Learned).

Leibbrandt predicted that the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank "will prove to be a watershed event for the banking industry; there will be a before and an after Bangladesh." He also warned that more such attacks have been launched, and would surely be launched in the future.

Since that February attack, which came to light in March, more attacks - and attack attempts - have already been revealed, including the theft of $12.2 million from Banco del Austro, or BDA, in Ecuador, in early 2015, via fraudulent SWIFT messages. Earlier this month, Vietnam-based Tien Phong Bank said that it had successfully blocked a similar plot to transfer $1.36 million out of its accounts via fraudulent SWIFT messages, at the end of 2015.

Investigators say recent strikes have involved attackers successfully infecting banks' systems with malware and injecting fake money transfer requests into the SWIFT network. Attackers have been hiding those transfers by substituting a Trojanized version of a PDF reader used by the banks to review related statements generated by their SWIFT software.

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Google offices raided in Paris as prosecutors announce fraud probe

Google offices raided in Paris as prosecutors announce fraud probe | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
French investigators have raided Google’s Paris headquarters, saying the company is now under investigation for aggravated financial fraud and organised money laundering.

In a major escalation of France’s long-running enquiry into Google’s tax affairs, magistrates revealed on Tuesday that the software giant is suspected of evading taxes by failing to declare the full extent of its activities in the country.

Prosecutors said they want to establish whether the Irish company through which Google funnels the majority of its European revenues does in fact control a “permanent establishment” in France.

Google maintains that its large offices in Paris, London and other European capitals are not fully fledged businesses, but operate as mere satellites of its international headquarters in Dublin, providing back-office services such as marketing.

The company routes most of its non-US revenue from activities such as advertising through Dublin, where the 12.5% corporation tax rate is low by European standards. The structure allows the company to avoid both European and US taxes on the income.
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Antonio Garza: Mexico’s best PR move is to stop violence and corruption

Antonio Garza: Mexico’s best PR move is to stop violence and corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
After enduring months of hostile rhetoric in the U.S. primaries, Mexico has had enough. In a diplomatic and strategic shakeup, officials have announced a new strategy to polish the country’s image abroad. They shouldn't have a hard time finding material, given our broad and fruitful bilateral relationship. But if Mexico really wants to change its image, it needs to start at home.

Americans’ concerns regarding Mexico began long before the current primary season. The recent incidents of bilateral bullying inflame emotions, especially when tied to sensitive domestic issues such as undocumented immigration or border security. Yet Americans’ pervasive perception of Mexico as corrupt, violent or overridden by cartels also stems in large part from the country’s very real challenges.

This means that if Mexico is serious about improving its image abroad, the first step is recognizing that the problem isn’t just one of public relations but also of content.

There are many places to start, but the easiest and quickest move would be to embrace and strengthen the anti-corruption legislation that is currently languishing in congress. This legislative bundle is part two of last year’s sweeping anti-corruption reforms, which changed 14 constitutional articles and established the National Anti-Corruption System (to coordinate national, state and local efforts), among other welcome changes.

However, this first wave of reforms created the framework, and the secondary bills were supposed to put meat on the legislative bones. Now, with the end of the most recent congressional session and two weeks until the legislation’s self-imposed deadline, only five of the seven necessary bills have ever appeared on the floor.

Even more disappointing, the citizen-designed Ley 3de3, which demands that Mexican officials publicly report three things about themselves: wealth, conflicts of interest and tax records, has also disappeared. In its place is a government-proposed law that would require officials to make the same declarations, but have their full publication be merely optional.
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Dorsey Anti-Corruption Digest

Dorsey Anti-Corruption Digest | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
In this edition, among the many topics discussed, we report on the disclosure made by FMC Technologies that it is among the clients of Unaoil whose relationships with the oil company are being scrutinized for possible violations of the FCPA; Dmitrij Harder, the former owner and President of the Chestnut Consulting Group, pleading guilty to violating the FCPA by bribing an official at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and updates from the White House following the release of the Panama Papers, that it is urging Congress to implement legislation to fight corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering.

Updates from the U.K. include a report on the inaugural Anti-Corruption Summit in London, which was attended by heads of state and representatives of over 40 countries, with the aim of initiating a global response to tackle corruption; the conviction of the former manager of the banknote manufacturer Innovia Securency on four counts of making corrupt payments to a foreign official following a joint investigation by the SFO and the Australian Federal Police; and on the pledge made by the All England Lawn Tennis Club to increase its safeguards against corruption and doping at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Global updates include news from Australia that a senior public servant was allegedly paid bribes in return for granting contracts at Sydney Harbor; updates regarding Brazil’s Operation Carwash and reports that the President of the Chamber of Deputies has been suspended from office due to various corruption proceedings that he is currently involved in; news that the former head of Cameroon Airlines, Yves Michel Fotso, was sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzling over $56 million between 2000 and 2003; a report on a corruption matter regarding the modernization of Colombia’s main oil refinery, under which there are said to be costs of $4 billion that are unaccounted for; a reported $43 million settlement between Israeli authorities and Siemens regarding a ten-year bribery matter; plus anti-corruption developments in China, Pakistan and more from around the globe.
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World-Herald editorial: Corruption takes big toll

World-Herald editorial: Corruption takes big toll | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The scale of corruption in Iraq boggles the imagination. The rampant political favoritism, money laundering, intimidation of investigators and outright theft have helped plunge Iraq into crisis.
Iraq’s problem has broad applicability for other nations, especially developing ones.
To prevent corruption, societies need transparency in government operations. Courts need to be empowered and to operate independently. Private property rights need to be safeguarded. Investigative authority should be robust.
Responsible bidding, not favoritism, should determine the awarding of government contracts. Laws against corruption need to be enforced and offenders punished.
These protections are abysmally weak in Iraq, and the country is suffering greatly as a result.
Corrupt officials pocket an estimated $500 million to $600 million annually in “pay” for soldiers who don’t exist, the Guardian newspaper reports. Millions in funds are appropriated for phony projects — roadwork, port improvements, courthouse construction, military plane purchases — that wind up lining the bank accounts of the politically privileged.
Transparency International’s latest global corruption study gave present-day Iraq a worse score than all but a handful of nations.
“When people here steal, they steal openly. They brag about it,” says Mishan al-Jabouri, a senior member of an Iraqi parliamentary committee investigating official corruption. “You are seen as weak if you don’t steal.”
One investigation found that by 2008, at least $18 billion in U.S. funds had disappeared due to corruption and waste. Seventy-two percent of Iraqi civil servants surveyed said they’re afraid to report corruption.
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Corruption is Legal in America

Learn more at http://Represent.Us/TheProblem, and go to https://represent.us/TheSolution to see our plan and join the Anti-Corruption Movement. Click o
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Corruption Concerns in Mexico Drive Growing Levels of Public Distrust in Gov’t

Corruption Concerns in Mexico Drive Growing Levels of Public Distrust in Gov’t | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Mexico’s government faces the lowest level of public confidence seen in nearly a generation, with 61 percent of respondents in a recent poll saying the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Polling experts say the problem extends well beyond the presidency to the country’s governors, who “never land in prison” for corruption, according to a 2016 report on Mexico’s democracy by the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Public concern with corruption is the highest seen in 11 years, according to the Mexican polling firm, Consulta Mitofsky.

Sixty-one percent of Mexicans surveyed by the firm say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval rating is at the lowest level of his presidency, which began at the end of 2012. Public disapproval of his performance, according to the firm’s latest polls for this year, stands at 61 percent.

Most surprising is a recent spike in the public’s disapproval of the nation’s governors, according to Francisco Abundis of the polling firm Parametria.

The governors’ disapproval rating is at 50 percent, the highest level seen in 14 years, according to Parametria’s latest survey of 1,000 respondents released in April, he said.

“For the first time in Mexico, we can speak of generalized discontent with the governing class not seen for 20 years,” Abundis said. “This is what surprises us. It’s not just the president that has a low approval rating.”

Mexico’s “biggest problems” are corruption and conflicts of interest, according to the report by the Bertelsmann Foundation, which monitors the health of open markets, democracy and the performance of public officials in 129 countries.

Its Mexico report, covering the period from February 2013 to January 2015, found that “corrupt governors and functionaries never land in prison and very few are forced to resign.”

“There are no independent institutions with the power to impeach or prosecute governors, the executive cabinet or the president himself,” the report said.

It cited “widespread corruption among judges,” allowing them to be manipulated by “criminal groups” and “economic interests.”

Mexico’s national Congress failed during its current session to act on anti-corruption legislation proposed by Peña Nieto, but members of the president’s party, the PRI, have promised to take up the measure during an extraordinary session this summer.

The reform calls for the creation of a federal prosecutor focused exclusively on corruption, a special anticorruption court and tighter auditing of public expenditures.
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The phantom companies of Veracruz: What they look like - El Daily Post

The phantom companies of Veracruz: What they look like - El Daily Post | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
In an 18-month period from June of 2012 to December of 2013, 73 of the contracts awarded by the state government of Veracruz totaled 645 million pesos in worth — about $38 million dollars — and went to 21 companies that were all part of a network. Of those contracts given out, 16 were the result of direct awards without bidding, and the rest came out of restricted tenders in which the government decided who would be allowed to bid.

A review of 21 companies’ articles of incorporation, contracts, tender process outcomes, Economy Secretariat records, web pages and interviews revealed several factors connecting them with each other.

First among them are the founding dates — all but two were created after Gov. Duarte took office. And the two exceptions started up just months before his inauguration in 2010.

There’s also the location of the companies. A radius of 200 meters contains 11 of the 21 companies, at the edge of a low-income residential area north of Veracruz city. Eight others are also in the Veracruz port area. Two are in the capital, Xalapa.

And if you go to these “company headquarters” you can see that they’re mostly houses. One, however, is a small grocery store, another is a metal shop, another a bakery and another a doctor’s office. One address given doesn’t exist.

Another coincidence is that 12 are registered with the Economy Secretariat with the same email address, and 13 names appear as partners in various of the 21 businesses, or have a family relationship with each other.

Not one of the 21 businesses has or ever had its own web page or shows up on social media. There are no records or other indications of a business history outside of the state contracts they obtained.
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Corruption Currents: Symantec Links North Korea to Hacking Heists

Corruption Currents: Symantec Links North Korea to Hacking Heists | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
South Korea’s anti-bribery fight faces a backlash for being too strict. (Bloomberg)

Liberia’s top lawyer was arrested for allegedly paying bribes in the Sable Mining case. He denied the allegations, and the company said it’s investigating. (Guardian, Mail & Guardian, ProActive)

The U.S. fight over whether to bail a Turkish businessman accused of violating sanctions on Iran has revived allegations of bribery at a major Turkish bank. The bank denied wrongdoing. (AP, Bloomberg)

Cybercrime:

Symantec Corp. said it has evidence that the same group in the Bangladesh hacking heist attempted to steal money from a bank in the Philippines and one in Vietnam, using the same malware from the Sony Pictures hack, which the U.S. blamed on North Korea. (BBC, Reuters, CNNMoney)

Bangladesh is reviewing a 2013 attack on its largest commercial bank for links to the hacking heist, and FireEye is looking across Asia for more breaches. (Reuters, WSJ)

Swift is eying new technology to stop cyber theft. (Reuters)

Cyberthieves who stole millions from an Ecuadorian bank routed it through Hong Kong firms. (Reuters)

Money Laundering:

European lawmakers voted to create a virtual currency regulator to prevent money laundering. (CityAM, press release)

Lebanon’s central bank governor said the bank will issue regulations against money laundering and terrorism financing. (Daily Star)

China tightened its supervision of potential money laundering in foreign-exchange trading. (Reuters)

Indian authorities sent judicial requests to Dubai and Hong Kong as they probe money laundering through Bank of Baroda. In a separate case, they’re ready to send an extradition request to the U.K. for a tycoon accused of money laundering (Indian Express, PTI)

Experts say Ottawa should crack down on money laundering in Canadian real estate. (CBC)

A Maltese bank denied money laundering allegations. (Times of Malta)
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Exclusive: Brazil investigating possible corruption at Olympic venues

Exclusive: Brazil investigating possible corruption at Olympic venues | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Brazilian investigators have expanded their probe into possible corruption around the staging of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August to include all the venues and services financed with federal funds, a lead prosecutor told Reuters.

Federal investigations have previously focused on "legacy" modernization projects not directly tied to the Games but this newly disclosed probe includes Olympic Park and the Deodoro area where Olympic venues are located, federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri said.

"It's not just the physical works we're looking at - it is contracts for services, security, everything that used federal funds," he told Reuters from his Rio de Janeiro office late on Tuesday.

The Olympics were meant to showcase Brazil's rise as a global power. Instead, they will take place as suspended President Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment trial, the economy suffers its worst recession since the 1930s, an outbreak of the Zika virus prompts health concerns and a massive corruption scandal infuriates Brazilians.

Mitidieri said his team is also investigating what happened to federal funds earmarked for cleaning Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing events will take place, and lakes that surround the main Olympic venues in western Rio's Barra neighborhood.

Those bodies of water have heavy sewage contamination and remain badly polluted despite promises to drastically improve them as a legacy achievement of the Olympics.

Another team of federal prosecutors, along with federal police, is investigating whether the Rio de Janeiro state water utility company Cedae committed environmental crimes by not properly treating sewage in Rio's metropolitan area of 12 million people, Mitidieri said.
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How Hungary’s Central Banker Funneled Funds to Friends, Family

How Hungary’s Central Banker Funneled Funds to Friends, Family | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Gyorgy Matolcsy is rewriting the rules for central banking inside the European Union to include family and friends.
Since being tapped to run the National Bank of Hungary by Prime Minister Viktor Orban three years ago, the former economy czar has funneled the equivalent of almost $1 billion to six foundations he set up over the objections of his supervisory board and to the irritation of EU officials. 

Matolcsy said the money, about enough to cover the NATO member’s defense budget, was no longer public and Orban fought to keep its flows secret. But the Constitutional Court handed their opponents a rare victory, ordering the release of records detailing scores of transactions that benefited people close to Matolcsy and other allies of Orban instead of the bank or the Treasury. 
The web of patronage they disclosed has stunned many Hungarians who’ve largely embraced the move by Orban, a fan of Vladimir Putin, toward what he’s called an “illiberal state.” Even seasoned trackers of corruption in the former Soviet Bloc say they’re startled by the audacity the documents reveal.
“There’s literally a paper trail linking the central bank to questionable payments to individuals related to its chief,” said Otilia Dhand, a political risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence in Brussels. “Even by eastern European standards, this goes beyond your usual allegation of crony capitalism.”

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Brazil’s Giant Corruption Probe Ensnares U.S. Steel Venture

Ripples from Brazil’s giant graft probe are reaching Pittsburgh, where U.S. Steel Corp. is looking into accusations that one of its local ventures paid bribes.
Police and prosecutors are investigating pipe supplier Apolo Tubulars SA, owned 50 percent by U.S. Steel, as well as Luxembourg-based Tenaris SA’s Confab unit, for suspected involvement in a scheme to win contracts at state-controlled oil company Petrobras, officials said Tuesday.
The companies allegedly paid about 40 million reais ($11 million) in bribes from 2009 to 2013, prosecutors including Roberson Pozzobon told reporters in Curitiba, Brazil. A recording of the statements was posted on YouTube.
“We are reviewing this matter and are in contact with Apolo,” Sarah Cassella, a spokeswoman for U.S. Steel, said in an e-mailed response. It obtained a 50 percent interest in Apolo via the 2007 acquisition of Lone Star Technologies Inc.
Confab has no evidence that any of its employees made illegal payments to obtain business with Petrobras, and is collaborating with authorities, Tenaris said in an e-mailed response.
Petrobras is at the center of an expanding pay-to-play investigation dubbed Carwash that has seen some of its former executives sent to prison and suppliers go bankrupt.
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Panama Papers: British-Canadian billionaire mysterious middleman in ‘corruption scheme’ | Toronto Star

Panama Papers: British-Canadian billionaire mysterious middleman in ‘corruption scheme’ | Toronto Star | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, a British-Canadian billionaire honoured recently by York University with his name on a new health institute, is the mysterious middleman in a 20-year “corruption scheme” in which U.S. officials say he “enriched himself” with $400 million (U.S.) in mark-ups and paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to Bahraini officials, a Toronto Star/CBC investigation has found.

Until now, U.S. government court records only identified an anonymous figure named “Consultant A” as the “middleman” between Bahraini and U.S. alumina companies pocketing huge profits and paying bribes through a British Virgin Island-based shell company called Alumet Limited.

Documents contained in the Panama Papers confirm Dahdaleh, 72, is Consultant A in a scandal that forced Alcoa, one of the world’s largest aluminum companies, to plead guilty in 2014 to U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charges that it paid “millions of dollars in bribes through an international middleman” in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In addition to the DOJ, Alcoa also settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was slammed with one of the largest anti-corruption fines ever — $384 million (all figures U.S.).

In a plea agreement with the SEC, Alcoa conceded its involvement in the “corruption scheme” which “facilitated at least $110 million in corrupt payments to Bahraini officials” through “Consultant A.”

“The consultant was paid a commission on sales where he acted as an agent and received a markup on sales where he acted as a purported distributor,” it says. “No legitimate services were provided to justify the role of the consultant as a distributor.”

Alumet, the company at the nexus of that scheme, has maintained a secretive corporate ownership structure until now thanks to the anonymity provided by offshore tax havens like the BVI.

“This email confirms...my capacity as the owner and director of Alumet,” reads a March 2007 email Dahdaleh sent to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — one of dozens of internal records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with the Toronto Star and CBC confirming Dahdaleh registered the offshore company through the Royal Bank of Canada in 1989.
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Disaster Fraud Rampant After Floods, Hurricanes

Disaster Fraud Rampant After Floods, Hurricanes | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Disaster-related fraud affects auto, homeowners and commercial lines of insurance. Fred Lohmann, NICB director of operations for the Southwest Region, explained the types of fraud associated with flooding in a podcast interview with Insurance Journal affiliate, Claims Journal.

Recent flooding in Houston, Texas, caused an estimated $14 billion in damage. Last year, the NICB reported that nearly 10,000 insured vehicles were damaged by flooding in the state. Lohmann said he expects about the same number of damaged vehicles in this latest round of flooding.

He discussed how flood damaged cars are totaled out as salvage and then resold to unsuspecting victims.

“We typically see total loss claims for vehicles that have gone under the water,” said Lohmann, who is based in Irving, Texas. “Houston is a coastal city, so there are a lot of bayous. When you get heavy rains, as we experienced this spring, that water comes up very rapidly. It ends up trapping people where they can’t get out, and those vehicles end up going underwater.”

When fraud is involved, flooded vehicles are cleaned up, purchased at salvage and then sold to unsuspecting buyers at used car facilities. Lohmann said subsequent problems involving a vehicle that has been submerged underwater includes rusting and issues with electronics and computer systems – both of which are susceptible to corrosion.

Consumers and insurers can use the NICB VINCheck website and other systems, including CarCheck and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS ), to check to see if a used car title is branded as salvage.

“That alerts consumers that, hey, this may not be a safe vehicle to be driving on the road,” said Lohmann. “The salvage companies work very closely with the auto…insurance companies in the U.S. to ensure that those vehicles, when they’re salvaged the title’s properly branded.”

That information is also used by the insurance industry, NICB and law enforcement. A state’s department of motor vehicles will also brand flooded vehicles as a total loss, and in some cases will actually denote that it’s a flood loss, he said.

Sometimes, bold fraudsters will purposely drive vehicles into flooded areas.

“We…have investigated some cases in the past where vehicles were intentionally driven into low lying areas in anticipation of the flood event,” said Lohmann. “We noticed during Hurricane Ike that struck the Texas coast some years back, I had an agent that was actually observing vehicles towing boats to Galveston Island prior to the storm making landfall. Most people are leaving the island to safeguard their property, yet we were seeing cases where they were actually bringing the boats out to the island. We suspect that it was to basically have them impacted adversely by the storm and then potentially make insurance claims.”

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Get Real: Petrodollars, not corruption is the reason for Brazilian coup

Get Real: Petrodollars, not corruption is the reason for Brazilian coup | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment was motivated by her efforts to circumvent US dollar dominance through trade with Iran, rather than the ongoing allegations of corruption, hypothesizes independent analyst Haneul Na’avi.
In ancient times, communities would place their sins on the body of an al-Azazel, or scapegoat, and cast it into the desert to die. This was done every year in order to garner favoritism in the eyes of God and ensure a bountiful harvest. In the same ritualistic fashion, Brazil’s acting government has chosen to honor this tradition at the expense of the consent of the governed.

Ousted President and Worker’s Party (PT) leader Dilma Rousseff awaits a fabricated impeachment trial despite the chagrin of the Chamber of Deputies Speaker Waldir Maranhao who ordered an annulment. A defiant Congress has hurled its entire weight at the gates of Brasilia’s Superior Courts with burnt offerings of her political career; with the hope her sacrifice will birth a neocolonial Dark Age. Hands clasped, they await the blessings of Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and the US State Department to affirm their convictions.

Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) leader, coup initiator and interim president Michel Temer has longed to sell out Rousseff for his 30 pieces of silver, according to WikiLeaks, and despite the endless sins permeating Brazil’s legislative branch, the mainstream media has equated her financial mistakes to treason, completely obscuring the bigger picture. “Dilma Rousseff has not been accused of any financial impropriety. However, 318 members of the Brazilian Congress, including many who backed her impeachment, are under investigation or face charges,” Democracy Now highlights.
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Corruption Currents: Pentagon Investigator Reveals Whistleblower Problems

Corruption Currents: Pentagon Investigator Reveals Whistleblower Problems | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
U.K. police fired a detective for allegedly taking illicit payments for information about an investigation into a Nigerian politician jailed for money laundering. (Times)

Prosecutors dropped charges against Parker Drilling, completing the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement.

A South African corruption investigation cost 140 million rand ($8.9 million). (IOL)

In local politics: An Indian state minister was cleared of bribery charges. (Indian Express)

Cybercrime:

The number of U.K. prosecutions for white-collar crime rose for the first time in five years in 2015, with cybercrime one of the key areas of growth, according to a law firm’s report. (Bloomberg)

A Romanian hacker who allegedly leaked President George W. Bush‘s paintings and Hillary Clinton‘s emails is expected to plead guilty. (Washington Post, AP)

Prosecutors want indefinite detention for a child-porn suspect who won’t decrypt his hard drives. (ars technica)

New York City’s police commission says gangs are turning to cybercrime. (NY Daily News)

A Japanese bank heist using stolen data on credit cards netted $12.7 million. (BBC)

Money Laundering:

Two members of a prominent family from Honduras, accused by U.S. authorities of engaging in a decade-long money-laundering scheme, seek the dismissal of the charges. (Reuters)

Scotland Yard passed its money-laundering case against a Pakistani political leader to prosecutors. (The News, Dunya)

More than $10.5 billion was transferred illegally out of Russia in 2015. (OCCRP)

An Indian farmer’s bank account was frozen over alleged links to a tycoon wanted for money laundering. The farmer said he had no idea of the links. India plans to invoke an extradition treaty to bring the tycoon home to face charges. (ANI, PTI)

After a de-risking drive against remittance services, Westpac is launching a new remittance product. (Sydney Morning Herald)
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Contract-winning French sub builder tied up in deadly Malaysian bribery saga

Contract-winning French sub builder tied up in deadly Malaysian bribery saga | Global Corruption | Scoop.it



The French company awarded the right to build Australia's $50 billion submarine fleet is embroiled in a multi-million dollar bribery scandal over a submarine contract in Malaysia.

The allegations in Malaysia have engulfed the country's prime minister and spun out into a sordid tale of bribery, blackmail and murder. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month awarded French shipbuilder DCNS the right to build the next generation of 12 Australian submarines - a decision that followed a fierce competition with Germany and Japan, and was itself mired in controversy over claims of political pork-barrelling to defend South Australian marginal seats

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Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade

Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
the summit largely ignored how corruption is fueled by western governments, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Foreign aid has long been notorious for breeding kleptocracies — governments of thieves. Economic studies have revealed that corrupt governments receive more foreign aid. Fourteen years ago, President George W. Bush promised to reform foreign aid: “We won’t be putting money into a society which is not transparent and corrupt.” (He probably meant “corruption-free.”) But U.S. aid programs – which cost taxpayers more than $40 billion a year – continue to bankroll many of the world’s most crooked regimes (according to ratings by Transparency International) – including Uzbekistan, Haiti, and Kenya. And there is no “Tyrants Need Not Apply” sign at the entrance to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Obama administration has valiantly resisted congressional efforts to stop payouts to political bandits abroad. In 2011, when a House committee sought to curb the abuse, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests “has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients.”

Since Obama took office, the U.S. government has provided more than $50 billion in foreign aid to Afghanistan – even though that nation’s president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted last week that his nation is “one of the most corrupt countries on earth.” Seven years ago, Obama gave his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, a six-month deadline to eradicate corruption. Obama’s imperative only accelerated the looting by Afghan government officials and cronies.

Pervasive corruption is a major reason why the Taliban is re-conquering more of that nation each year. At Afghanistan’s premier military hospital, some wounded Afghan soldiers starved to death because they could not afford to bribe the hospital staff for food. Much of the Afghan Army is practically bootless because of crooked contracts that deliver shoddy footwear that literally falls apart the first time soldiers wear them.

Kerry promised that the U.S. would help fund a Global Consortium of Civil Society and Investigative Journalists against Corruption. But on the homefront, the Obama administration has scourged individuals who disclosed federal abuses. Obama’s Justice Department launched more than twice as many federal prosecutions for Espionage Act violations as all previous administrations combined. When Obama took office, the U.S. was ranked as having the 20th most-free press in the world, according to the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index — in the same league as Germany and Japan. By 2016, it had fallen to 41st — worse than South Africa and barely ahead of Botswana. Despite Obama’s boast of running “the most transparent administration in history,” his appointees have helped turn the Freedom of Information Act into a charade.
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Anti-corruption tide reaches Argentina 

Anti-corruption tide reaches Argentina  | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Across Latin America, powerful political figures are falling foul of a renewed zeal for attacking corruption. Politicians are under fire from Mexico to Chile, with the downfall of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil this month over accusations she fiddled national budget figures only the latest example.
Now Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who ruled Argentina for eight years until last December, and several former associates, face allegations that include embezzlement, bribery and money laundering.

The first formal charges against Ms Fernández last week over the sale of future dollar contracts by the central bank below the market price are just the beginning of legal complications for officials of the former administration.
“She will end up in prison,” said Elisa Carrió, a key figure in the coalition of the new government of President Mauricio Macri, and an outspoken crusader against corruption.
“She is involved in almost all the lawsuits” connected to the previous government, Ms Carrió added, arguing that it was ultimately Ms Fernández who awarded all the public works contracts where corruption is suspected.
Indeed, a legal noose is tightening around Ms Fernández, who is implicated in several other cases as well as the central bank’s controversial derivatives trading, which incurred losses for the state of at least $5bn in a bid to prop up the currency in the final months of her government.
The fiery populist says the allegations against her are designed to smear her legacy and distract attention from soaring inflation, lay-offs and rising poverty, as market-oriented reforms including a sharp devaluation and subsidy cuts take their toll.
Meanwhile, Ms Fernández and her supporters point to Mr Macri’s involvement in the so-called Panama Papers scandal, with Argentina’s new business-friendly leader under investigation for alleged ties to offshore companies. The prosecutor in the case said this week that he will open up a new line of investigation after media reports that the companies are still active, despite Mr Macri’s claims that they were closed down years ago.

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Corruption Currents: Former Brazilian Official Receives 23 Years in Prison

Corruption Currents: Former Brazilian Official Receives 23 Years in Prison | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
An ex-chief of staff to the former Brazilian president received 23 years in prison for his role in the Petrobras scandal. Police accused the CEO of the country’s largest steel maker of corruption; the company said it hadn’t seen the official allegations. Meanwhile, Brazil’s new government is suspending negotiations with construction companies caught up in a massive corruption investigation in order to make leniency deals more rigorous and prove its anti-graft credentials. (Reuters, WSJ, Reuters)

Switzerland extradited to the U.S. the final suspect it held in the FIFA investigation. He pleaded not guilty to bribery charges. (AP, SwissInfo, Reuters, Law360)

The U.S. law firm representing FIFA in the corruption crisis is adding South America’s scandal-tainted governing body to its roster of clients. (Bloomberg)

A former Greek Red Cross director was arrested for allegedly taking bribes in 1998; he denies the allegations. (Greek Reporters)

In local politics: A convicted New York State lawmaker has more free time before reporting to prison. (NY Daily News, DNAInfo)

Cybercrime:

Foreign hackers are spying on the U.S. presidential campaigns, the national intelligence chief said. (AP)

Be very afraid of ransomware. (Newsweek)

Money Laundering:

Finra fined Raymond James a record $17 million for widespread money-laundering lapses. (AP, BizJournals, Reuters, WSJ)

A dentist fighting accusations of money laundering could thwart U.S. anti-corruption enforcers. (Bloomberg)

An aide to a Peruvian presidential candidate stepped down amid reports of money laundering. (WSJ, Reuters)

North Korea adopted an anti-money-laundering law. (NK News)

A reputed Russian mafia boss was convicted of money laundering in Majorca. (Majorca Daily Bulletin)

A former Bollywood actress is under investigation for money laundering. She didn’t appear to be contacted. (Hindustan Times)
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