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USA: Calvin Darden Jr. Charged With Multimillion-Dollar Fraud

USA:  Calvin Darden Jr. Charged With Multimillion-Dollar Fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Calvin Darden Jr., son of Darden Media Chairman Calvin Darden Sr., was charged with a multimillion-dollar fraud tied to the purchase of Maxim magazine, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Darden, 39, of Staten Island, New York, is accused of “lying extensively” in several schemes, including one in which he allegedly impersonated his father in e-mails and on telephone calls and tricked lenders into providing him more than $8 million for the acquisition of Maxim, the bawdy men’s title.

The younger Darden also defrauded an unidentified Taiwan company into paying him $500,000 by claiming that a company his father would arrange for a National Basketball Association exhibition game in Asia, the U.S. said. Darden falsely claimed that he and his father had met with the owners of the New York Knicks and NBA officials, impersonated his father in e-mails to the company and forged his father’s signature on documents, according to a criminal complaint.

To convince lenders interested in Maxim’s purchase they would receive sufficient collateral for their loans, Darden allegedly provided a fabricated bank account statement purportedly to be from an account held by his father. The statement falsely reported his father’s holdings in stocks of at least three publicly traded companies of which the elder Darden is a director, prosecutors said

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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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Brazil Seizes $655M Odebrecht, OAS Assets in Petrobras Damage Compensation | OilPrice.com

Brazil Seizes $655M Odebrecht, OAS Assets in Petrobras Damage Compensation | OilPrice.com | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The federal auditing court of Brazil, TCU, has ordered the seizure of assets worth the equivalent of US$655 million from Latin America’s largest engineering group Odebrecht and from the OAS engineering firm, as compensation for damages in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

Odebrecht and OAS are two of the thirty-one engineering and construction firms accused of having colluded on rig contracts for state-held Petrobras.

The asset seizure — which also extends to Odebrecht’s former chief executive Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht and OAS’s José Adelmário Pinheiro Filho — is aimed at recovering some of the sums that Petrobras had overpaid for services at the refinery Abreu e Lima.

In March this year, Odebrecht was sentenced to 19 years in jail for corruption and money laundering.

According to Reuters, prosecutors have so far recovered around US$1.8 billion of bribe money from offshore accounts in as many as 36 countries.

Petrobras is trying to recover from the scandal, which had also sped up the fall of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, who faces an impeachment hearing on August 29.
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Leonardo DiCaprio, the Malaysian Money Scandal and His "Unusual" Foundation | Hollywood Reporter

Leonardo DiCaprio, the Malaysian Money Scandal and His "Unusual" Foundation | Hollywood Reporter | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
On the evening of July 20, under a tent at a vineyard in St. Tropez brimming to his specifications with booze, billionaires and babes, Leonardo DiCaprio was preparing to host one of the glitziest charitable events of the year: the third annual fundraiser for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Earlier that same day, under far less glamorous auspices half a world away, the U.S. Department of Justice was filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles that suggested the recent Oscar winner is a bit player in the planet's largest embezzlement case, totaling more than $3 billion siphoned from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB.

While the complaint does not target DiCaprio — he's referred to twice in the 136-page document and only as "Hollywood Actor 1" — the scandal shines an unfamiliar light on the charitable foundation of the most powerful actor in Hollywood thanks to the way the LDF has benefited directly from DiCaprio's relationship with key figures in the saga. And much like the gala in St. Tropez, with its expressions of one-percenter excess ostensibly in support of saving the environment (guests helicoptering in to dine on whole sea bass after watching a short film about the dangers of overfishing), a closer look at the LDF itself raises questions about its ties to the 1MDB players as well as the lack of transparency often required (or offered in this case) for the specific structure the actor has chosen for his endeavor.
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Experts call for action to combat academic corruption - University World News

Experts call for action to combat academic corruption - University World News | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Academic corruption itself is not new. But concerns about its impact have gained momentum as the growth in cross-border mobility of students, faculty and researchers catapults what was once mostly a local scourge into a global phenomenon – and, the statement suggests, a worldwide threat.

One Chinese scholar last year described the problem in China as a "malignant tumour", the statement notes. It also cites recent cases from Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa and the United States.

In all, the report focused on more than two dozen types of practices that affect the integrity of universities' academic operations, ranging from diploma mills and essay fraud to high-level bribery in exchange for an institution's degree-granting privileges and media suppression of stories that are unfavourable to governments and politicians.

It also developed a matrix offering potential ways in which stakeholders, including quality assurance bodies, government officials, higher education leaders, the press and students, can combat corruption.

Many of the suggestions aim to expand on tried-and-true strategies, such as codes of conduct, transparency in hiring and raising public awareness about topics such as conflict of interest and plagiarism.

Others reflect the competitive realities facing higher education in a global age. The panel suggests as one measure a rankings metric that would assess the academic integrity of institutions.

It also urged closer monitoring of the recruitment staff, including commercial agents, by national governments, quality assurance agencies and universities. And it called for the need for effective cyber-security of student record systems as data moves from one country to another.
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Brazil's Senate indicts Rousseff, opens impeachment trial

Brazil's Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to indict President Dilma Rousseff on charges of breaking budget laws and to begin an impeachment trial that is expected to oust her from office and end 13 years of rule by the Workers Party.

With the eyes of the world on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, senators in the capital Brasilia voted 59-21 against the suspended leftist leader in a raucous, 16-hour session that began on Tuesday.

Her opponents mustered five votes more than they will need to convict Rousseff at the end of the month, allowing interim President Michel Temer to serve the rest of her term through 2018.

The result showed Rousseff had even less support in the Senate since the 55-22 vote to suspend her on May 12. She is charged with manipulating government accounts and spending without congressional approval, which her opponents say helped her win re-election in 2014.

Wednesday's vote will strengthen Temer's hand as he tries to plug Brazil's fiscal crisis. Critics have blamed Rousseff for an economic recession that could be the country's worst since the 1930s.

Temer, Rousseff's conservative former vice president, has urged senators to wrap up the trial quickly so he can move ahead with a plan to cap public spending and enact pension reforms in hopes of restoring investor confidence in government finances.

Spokesman Marcio de Freitas said Temer is confident Rousseff's impeachment is irreversible and Wednesday's vote will give him more muscle to negotiate with Congress the reforms he believes are needed.

Temer also hopes to be confirmed as president in time to attend the summit of the G20 group of leading world economies in China on Sept. 4, Freitas told Reuters.

The move to replace Rousseff with the more business-friendly Temer has bolstered Brazil's currency against the dollar and boosted shares on the Sao Paulo stock market more than 30 percent since January, placing them among the world's best performing assets.

The real strengthened to 3.13 reais to the dollar on Wednesday. It had weakened as low as 4.16 in January.

Rousseff has denied wrongdoing and denounced her impeachment as a right-wing conspiracy that used an accounting technicality to illegally remove a government that improved the lot of Brazil's poor.
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Expert Says 88% of Colombia's Gold Produced Illegally

Expert Says 88% of Colombia's Gold Produced Illegally | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The vast majority of gold in Colombia's mines is extracted illegally, according to one expert, underscoring the importance of this illegal economy as the country prepares for a new chapter in its criminal history. 
Eighty-eight percent of the 57 metric tons of gold that are mined each year in Colombia are produced illegally, the president of the Colombian Mining Association (Asociación Colombiana de Minería - ACM) Santiago Ángel Urdinola said at a recent press conference.
Urdinola said that the departments with the highest percentage of illegally mined gold are Chocó, Cauca and Valle del Cauca on the Pacific coast, as well as Antioquia and Caldas, RCN Radio reported.
The ACM president said that although there were no official figures on the profits generated from illegal mining, he believes that they are "astronomical." These activities do not pay taxes to the state and do not comply with environmental regulations, he added.
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US Shell Companies Aid Crime Groups in Latin America and Beyond

US Shell Companies Aid Crime Groups in Latin America and Beyond | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A new report highlights how criminal groups use anonymous shell companies to help launder illicit proceeds, and how a simple legal change could help law enforcement tackle the issue.
The report (pdf), published August 1 by the research and advocacy organization Fair Share Education Fund, outlines the basic process of laundering money using anonymous companies and cites several cases in which Latin American crime groups have used these entities to hide dirty cash from authorities.

Money laundering occurs in three stages, the report explains. In the first stage, known as "placement," ill-gotten gains are generally converted from cash to a form that is easier to transfer, like an electronic bank deposit, a check or a pre-paid stored value card.
Next, money launderers "layer" the funds to make their origin harder to trace. This often involves routing the money through many different shell companies in numerous transactions. Once the money is "clean" enough, the launderers move to the "integration" stage, where the funds can be used for legal and illegal purposes. (See Fair Share's infographic to the right)
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Latin America's Moment » Corruption, Politics, and Corporate Transparency in Latin America

Latin America's Moment » Corruption, Politics, and Corporate Transparency in Latin America | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
It is Latin America’s anticorruption season. Deep beneath the waves of revulsion about scandal, graft, and the general filthiness of local politics has been a profound concern with democracy. In particular, there is a growing awareness that the dangerous liaisons between corruption and electoral finance threaten the stability and legitimacy of elected governments in the region. While there is plenty of good news about the impressive corruption busters who are shaking up settled patterns of corruption and impunity in the region, many of the underlying links between corporate transparency, corruption, and campaign finance remain deeply troubling and potentially destabilizing.

Of eighty-seven companies mentioned in the FCPA Blog’s most recent Corporate Investigations List—a count of companies whose public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveal that they are the subject of an ongoing and unresolved investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act—fully twenty-six are Latin American. Given that Latin America accounts for only 7 percent of the global economy, the fact that it accounts for 30 percent of current enforcement actions is impressive. Equally remarkable is that Brazil alone accounts for more than one in five of the companies on the list.

Of course, enforcement actions by U.S. regulators only target companies traded on the U.S. markets. The longstanding prevalence in Latin America of closed companies and conglomerates controlled by single families means that many regional corporate leaders are not publicly traded, much less traded on U.S. stock exchanges where they would be susceptible to U.S. regulation.

Furthermore, it might be argued that much corruption is simply illegal enrichment, and does nothing to fund campaigns. But personal enrichment often comes at the cost of private-regarding policies. More damaging still is that as companies across the region increasingly expand beyond their domestic markets and into neighboring economies, they sometimes carry with them the nefarious practices of political influence-peddling that helped them dominate at home. By way of example, Odebrecht, the once-massive construction firm at the heart of Brazil’s Lava Jato case, has expanded significantly to neighboring countries since the turn of the century. In its baggage train it carried significant campaign contributions, whether to Peruvian candidates with a role in the construction of massive interoceanic highways, or to Panamanian politicians with influence in over-priced public works projects.

Recognizing the dangers of corruption to electoral competition, the investigations that have swept the region in recent years have triggered a variety of changes in domestic laws aimed at destabilizing the nexus between politics and corruption. These include a ban on corporate donations in Brazil, a similar ban combined with campaign spending limits in Chile, and this week, after months of heavy civil society prodding, transparency requirements for politicians and the strengthening of anticorruption bodies in Mexico.
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NIGERIA: The Business of Bribes: Chasing the Ghosts of a Corrupt Regime 

NIGERIA: The Business of Bribes: Chasing the Ghosts of a Corrupt Regime  | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Halliburton's Nigerian Bribes

The scheme began in the early 1990s, when Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), at the time a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation, led a joint venture that bid for a $6 billion contract to build a sprawling liquefied natural gas facility in the Niger Delta.

The group won the bid, but not before Abacha had agreed to accept a $40 million bribe that he would share with other Nigerian officials, according to Department of Justice court papers. It was the first installment of $180 million in bribes that KBR would pay, not only to officials of the Abacha regime, but to officials of the two heads of state who succeeded him.

A few months before I interviewed Chagoury, former KBR CEO Jack Stanley had pleaded guilty in a Texas courtroom to charges related to organizing the bribery scheme that went on for a decade in Nigeria, and to taking millions in kickbacks for himself. Since then, two more KBR contractors have been indicted, and Halliburton entered a guilty plea and paid the government a record fine of more than $500 million.

Chagoury denies any involvement in the bribery case, but his name surfaces in notes taken by one of the indictees, William [Wojciech] Chodan [Chaudan].
Chagoury denies any involvement in the bribery case, but his name surfaces in notes taken by one of the indictees, Chodan, who kept detailed records of so-called cultural meetings, where bribes were discussed.
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News from The Associated Press

News from The Associated Press | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte publicly linked more than 150 judges, mayors, lawmakers, police and military personnel to illegal drugs Sunday, ordering them to surrender for investigation as he ratcheted up his bloody war against what he calls a "pandemic."

Duterte promptly relieved members of the military and police he named from their current posts and ordered government security personnel to be withdrawn from politicians he identified in a nationally televised speech. He also ordered gun licenses of those named revoked.

"All military and police who are attached to these people, I'm giving you 24 hours to report to your mother unit or I will whack you. I'll dismiss you from the service," Duterte said in the speech at a military camp in southern Davao city.
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Corruption in Latin America Casts Shadow Over Rio Olympics

Corruption in Latin America Casts Shadow Over Rio Olympics | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Ahead of the Olympic Games beginning this week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilians and other Latin Americans see a continuation of corruption problems in their countries, according to a survey conducted by law firms.

Operation Car Wash, the formal name for the investigation that centers on Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasiliero SA, or Petrobras, has implicated dozens of companies, hundreds of people across the country’s elite and reached into the highest levels of government. This and other recent scandals led Brazil to join the survey’s list of most-corrupt countries–a change from the last survey in 2012–with 93% of respondents saying they were aware of a company, individual or government official being prosecuted for a business-related bribe.

Brazilians appear to have faith in their prosecutors, however, with 90% of respondents saying they believe an offender is likely to be punished. The survey, overseen by Miller & Chevalier Chartered with 13 regional law firms operating as partners, received 637 responses from corporate executives across 19 countries in Latin America after partnering with law firms across the region.

Nearly all respondents to the survey felt that state-owned enterprises and political parties are corrupt. And despite 77% of respondents saying that anti-corruption laws are ineffective in their countries, a decline from the 2012 edition, the survey found signs of improvement in corporate compliance measures.
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Corruption Currents: Experts Warn of Election Day Hacking

Corruption Currents: Experts Warn of Election Day Hacking | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The federal judge overseeing the FIFA case said trials can begin in September 2017. (Reuters)

U.S. authorities granted a stay over the seizure of assets held in Ireland linked to alleged bribery in Uzbekistan. (Irish Independent)

A former U.S. government employee was accused of exploiting a computer virus to make off with over $200,000 in bribes and then funneling the cash through local chicken restaurants. He didn’t return a request for comment. (Washington Post)

South Korea’s top court upheld an anti-bribery law. (Bloomberg)

In local politics: A former Russian mayor once seen as the opposition’s biggest hope was sentenced to 12 years in prison for bribery. (RFE/RL, Reuters)

Cybercrime:

The U.S. is weighing the risks of formally naming Russia as being behind the hacking of Democratic Party organizations. How does Moscow keep its fingerprints off of these attacks? The FBI took months to tell party officials of the alleged Russian role. (Reuters, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Reuters)

Three top Democratic party officials left amid the hack’s fallout. (NY Times, Politico)

Could the election itself be hacked? Experts are warning of the possibility, and the White House is working on ways to prevent it. (Daily Beast, NPR, BuzzFeed, Reveal, NY Times)

Iranian hackers breached Telegram, the encrypted telephone system. The company confirmed it. (Reuters)

Nations are buying up spyware equipment. (AP)
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Dorsey Anti-Corruption Digest

we report on the $15 million agreement entered into by Analogic Corp. and its wholly-owned Danish subsidiary, BK Medical ApS, to settle parallel civil and criminal FCPA proceedings with the DOJ and SEC; an announcement made by the SEC that Johnson Controls, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle charges relating to books, records and internal accounting controls provisions; news that two former executives of Louis Berger International have been sentenced for their role in FCPA violations in relation to bribes of nearly $4 million paid to foreign officials in order to secure government contacts between 1998 and 2010; and reports that the DOJ has issued Congresswoman Corrine Brown and her chief of staff, Elias Simmons, with a 24-count indictment alleging that the Congresswoman solicited over $800,000 in donations for a Foundation that were instead used to pay for her personal expenses.  

Updates from the U.K. include news that the SFO’s second application for a deferred prosecution agreement has been approved with regards to proceedings against an unnamed company following its alleged involvement in the payment of bribes to secure contracts in foreign jurisdictions; charges brought by the SFO against F.H. Bertling Ltd., a logistics and freight operations company, for allegedly conspiring to bribe an agent of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol; and reports that the SFO has received “blockbuster funding” regarding its investigation into Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation.
 
Global updates include updates from Brazil regarding the country’s expanding corruption investigation, in which 19 individuals have been arrested as part of an inquiry into alleged corruption at a nuclear power plant owned by the state-led utility company Eletrobras; reports from Chile that a former high-ranking cabinet official is being investigated by Chile’s public prosecutor for bribery; a update from Iraq regarding a six month investigation into bribery and embezzlement, following which the country’s parliamentary Integrity Commission has requested that the government issue the arrest of 2165 individuals, including a number government ministers; reports from Russia including the arrest of the Governor of the Kirov region on charges of corruption after the Investigative Committee allegedly caught him in the act of accepting a bribe in a Moscow restaurant; plus anti-corruption developments in Argentina, Canada, China, Kosovo, South Korea and more from around the globe.
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THIS SITE DISCONTINUED - Go to Anti-Corruption Digest International Risk & Compliance News FOR BEST GLOBAL CORRUPTION NEWS

THIS SITE DISCONTINUED - Go to Anti-Corruption Digest International Risk & Compliance News FOR BEST GLOBAL CORRUPTION NEWS | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Anti-Corruption Digest. International risk and compliance news, insights, best practices. Anti Corruption Digest corporate compliance issues.
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Peru high court throws out Fujimori embezzlement conviction

Peru high court throws out Fujimori embezzlement conviction | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A five-judge Supreme Court panel on Tuesday unanimously overturned the embezzlement conviction of imprisoned former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who was charged with diverting $40 million from the military to pay for articles in sensationalist tabloids that maligned his political foes.

The verdict, which cannot be appealed, outraged human rights activists, who said it flew in the face of a mountain of evidence presented at the 2015 trial at which Fujimori was convicted and sentenced to eight years.

Fujimori remains incarcerated, serving 25-year sentences for corruption and for authorizing death squads during his 1990-2000 presidency. He is due for release in 2032, but his political movement won a majority in Congress in recent elections and his daughter Keiko lost the presidency by less than a half percentage point in a June runoff.

"It's a dangerous and very damaging verdict for the fight against corruption," human rights lawyer Carlos Rivera told Canal N television.

The judges ruled there was no evidence Fujimori had used public funds to pay for headlines in the so-called "chicha" newspapers, broadsheets aimed at the uneducated brimming with true crime tales and photos of unclothed women.

Yet Fujimori's own spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was convicted in 2005 in the same case. He testified that Fujimori in some cases ordered up specific headlines to be used in the tabloid campaign, which occurred during the 2000 election.

A scandal set loose by the release of videos of Montesinos bribing congressmen toppled Fujimori that year and he faxed in his resignation from exile.
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Corruption Currents: Trump’s Campaign Chair on Ukraine ‘Black Ledger’

Corruption Currents: Trump’s Campaign Chair on Ukraine ‘Black Ledger’ | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Bangladesh’s central bank has said it’s withholding findings of investigations into the hacking heist to avoid tipping off the “foreign perpetrators” of the attack. They’ll meet New York Fed officials this week. (Reuters)

An aide to former UKIP leader Nigel Farage was arrested in the U.S. on blackmail and money laundering charges while on a trip. Mr. Farage denied any link to the allegations, and the party said the allegations occurred before his time with UKIP. (BBC, Times, AP)

European regulators called for a delay in an anti-money laundering regime for virtual currencies. (Out-Law, Irish Independent)

Kazakh authorities are trying to recover assets allegedly stolen and stashed in U.S. real estate. (Real Deal)

India froze assets in a money-laundering probe. (Financial Express)

Kim Dotcom lost his appeal, and he will seek a review of the ruling. (Politico, Reuters)

Transparency:

Some U.K. shell companies under offshore control may be skirting new rules forcing businesses to reveal their true owners. (Reuters)

Panama Papers: The leak brought down a Nigerian mogul to Earth. (Mail & Guardian)

General Anti-Corruption:

Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency confirmed the details of a report saying that Paul Manafort, the chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was listed in a “black ledger” as receiving $12.7 million in cash payments from the ousted leader’s party. Authorities haven’t determined if he received the money. Mr. Manafort denied the allegations. (AP, NY Times, Politico)

Malaysia’s central bank said its probe in the 1MDB case is closed. Switzerland, however, is investigating an Abu Dhabi financial official; he couldn’t be reached. (CNA, The Star, Financial Times (sub. req.), Malaysiakini)

A former Bolivian minister was charged with corruption. Her lawyer denied the allegations. (PanAm Post)

A scam exploited gaps in national regulatory systems. (Reuters)

The only Russian athlete to beat a doping ban was then barred; she was later reinstated. (Reuters, NY Times)
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Corruption Currents: U.K. Export Agency Grounds Airbus Deals Amid Bribery Probe

Corruption Currents: U.K. Export Agency Grounds Airbus Deals Amid Bribery Probe | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The U.K. export agency grounded Airbus AG’s deals until it’s assured the company improves its handing of overseas agents. (Times)

A former deputy property manager in the British royal household was convicted of corruption over the awarding of building work contracts at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. (Reuters)

The Russian government submitted testimony it says is evidence of a billion-dollar bribery scheme that occurred during the privatization of oil concern Yukos. (press release)

FIFA confirmed it’s investigating the Brazilian soccer chief. (AP)

Cybercrime:

Iranian hackers are increasingly conducting attacks on dissidents and activists. (Foreign Policy, Bloomberg)

Brazilian hackers are stealing credit card data from Olympics attendees. (SCMP)

Malware infected government computers in Russia, Iran and Rwanda, and it evaded detection for five years. (Global Times)

A history of Stuxnet is here. (Motherboard)

Money Laundering:

RCBC says it still has close ties with U.S. banks despite its role in the hacking heist. (Reuters)

A drug ring linked to El Chapo was charged with money laundering after allegedly smuggling millions of dollars in drugs through sea cucumbers. (AP, Buffalo News)

Spain and Europol busted a firearms trafficking ring, charging its leaders with money laundering. (press release)

PEPWatch: Uli Hoeness wants to return as president of Bayern Munich after he serves his jail term for tax evasion. The wife of an Indian minister was questioned in a money laundering probe; the minister denied wrongdoing on behalf of him and his family. Police will question the son of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu over a money laundering probe; Mr. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.  (Reuters, PTI, Times of Israel)
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Panama Papers Commission ‘Will Have No Credibility,’ Former Chair Joseph Stiglitz Says

Panama Papers Commission ‘Will Have No Credibility,’ Former Chair Joseph Stiglitz Says | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Just days after resigning from a committee set up to study Panama's finance system in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, the largest leak of private financial data to the public in history, economist Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate, told ABC News the remaining panel "will have no credibility within the international community" -- unless they make tough recommendations, which he believes is unlikely.

Stiglitz, who was co-chair of the committee and resigned in protest last week along with Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth, told ABC News that he could not proceed without a commitment from the Panamanian government that it would publish the panel’s final report publicly.

Questions over the credibility of the committee -- which was established by the Panamanian government to "strengthen Panama as a global financial center with the best practices of transparency" -- could heighten concerns over whether Panama will reform its finance industry to discourage tax havens and secret accounts.

Responding to Stiglitz, the Government of Panama told ABC News that they “are disappointed that two of the committee members preferred to alter the mandate of the committee,” but that they “have full confidence in the committee to continue its important work.” Some of the committee’s remaining members have denounced Stiglitz's view.
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Ex-Lawmaker Gets 15 Years for Money Laundering in El Salvador

Ex-Lawmaker Gets 15 Years for Money Laundering in El Salvador | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Wilver Rivera Monge, a former congressman, was given 15 years in prison for his role in laundering drug money for the notorious trafficker Jorge Ulloa Sibrián, alias "Repollo," highlighting the complex nexus between organized crime and politics in El Salvador.
Repollo, who is currently serving a 77-year prison sentence, was given an additional 15 years for money laundering bringing his total sentence to 92 years. Rivera Monge's wife and son were also each given 10 years, reported La Prensa Grafica.
The attorney general's office found more than 9 million dollars in Rivera Monge's three bank accounts. The former congressman claimed that the money came from the legal sale of vehicles and motorcycles. Investigators dismissed this claim, saying the numbers did not add up.
The case revealed a money laundering network under the command of Ulloa Sibrián, or Repollo, in which properties and vehicles were bought and sold to conceal and move illicit funds earned from trafficking narcotics.
The original allegations claimed that Rivera Monge's 2012 campaign was funded with $1 million of illicitly earned funds, as previously reported by La Prensa Grafica.
In 2014, Repollo was sentenced to 77 years for his role in leading a cocaine transport operation that spanned much of Central America. His conviction represented a rare victory for the Salvadorian Justice system, which often struggles to prosecute high-level traffickers.
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Ecuador reprimands journalist, TV station for investigative reports - Committee to Protect Journalists

The Ecuadoran communications regulator should rescind all measures against the broadcaster Teleamazonas and journalist Janet Hinostroza, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Regulators yesterday sanctioned the station and the journalist for "media lynching" in relation to investigative reports into the government's purchase of medical supplies.

According to a copy of the decision, which CPJ has reviewed, the media regulator Supercom determined that Teleamazonas had engaged in the "media lynching" ("linchamiento mediático") of Ecuador's Public Contracting Service in at least eight separate occasions between January and July on the program "Breakfast 24 Hours" and "24 Hours," with investigative reports alleging the service's practices could lead to the distribution of substandard medicines. Supercom ordered Teleamazonas to air at least eight public apologies. Ecuador's communications law defines "media lynching" as the repeated publication of material in order to damage someone's reputation or credibility. The regulator found that Hinostroza, who was awarded CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2013, distorted and failed to contextualize information, and gave her a warning.

"'Media lynching' is one of the most patently bizarre violations imagined by Ecuador's restrictive communications law," said Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas at CPJ. "It is a ridiculous and clear attempt by authorities to censor news of public interest."
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Panama Papers Commission ‘Will Have No Credibility,’ Former Chair Joseph Stiglitz Says

Panama Papers Commission ‘Will Have No Credibility,’ Former Chair Joseph Stiglitz Says | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Just days after resigning from a committee set up to study Panama's finance system in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, the largest leak of private financial data to the public in history, economist Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate, told ABC News the remaining panel "will have no credibility within the international community" -- unless they make tough recommendations, which he believes is unlikely.

Stiglitz, who was co-chair of the committee and resigned in protest last week along with Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth, told ABC News that he could not proceed without a commitment from the Panamanian government that it would publish the panel’s final report publicly.

Questions over the credibility of the committee -- which was established by the Panamanian government to "strengthen Panama as a global financial center with the best practices of transparency" -- could heighten concerns over whether Panama will reform its finance industry to discourage tax havens and secret accounts.

Responding to Stiglitz, the Government of Panama told ABC News that they “are disappointed that two of the committee members preferred to alter the mandate of the committee,” but that they “have full confidence in the committee to continue its important work.” Some of the committee’s remaining members have denounced Stiglitz's view.
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Corruption Currents: Philippines Fines Bank in Hacking Heist

Corruption Currents: Philippines Fines Bank in Hacking Heist | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
As Operation Carwash continues to widen, the investigations have created an insurance boom. (Reuters, Buenos Aires Herald, Reuters)

Keppel executives denied allegations of bribery linked to Operation Carwash, but the company’s former agents contradict their claims. (HRMAsia, PetroGlobalNews)

In local politics: A former Auckland transport boss admitted taking bribes. Ruling party lawmakers in Myanmar want greater government efforts against bribery. A former Chinese tourism official received 12 years in prison for taking bribes. While a judge let one New York State lawmaker free while appealing his conviction, prosecutors don’t want another to have that opportunity. (TVNZ, RFA, Xinhua, NY Times, WSJ)

Cybercrime:

Dozens of Canadian companies have paid ransoms to retain control over their data. (Globe and Mail)

An Uzbek receptionist was arrested in Thailand on U.S. allegations that she helped hackers steal and launder millions. She hasn’t commented. (Daily Telegraph)

Experts see an Iranian link to a hack of a Syrian dissident. (ABC)

College Board is still trying to contain the damage of a breach of its exams. (Reuters)
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The Ponzi Scheme Blog: July 2016 Ponzi Scheme Roundup

The Ponzi Scheme Blog: July 2016 Ponzi Scheme Roundup | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
a summary of the activity reported for July 2016. The reported stories reflect: 7 guilty pleas or convictions in pending cases; over 21 years of newly imposed sentences for people involved in Ponzi schemes; at least 3 new Ponzi schemes worldwide; and an average age of approximately 51 for the alleged Ponzi schemers. Please feel free to post comments about these or other Ponzi schemes that I may have missed. And please remember that I am just relaying what’s in the news, not writing or verifying it.

    Thomas Abdallah, 52, Mark George, 59, and Jeffrey Gainer, 52, pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a Ponzi scheme run through KGTA Petroleum Ltd. KGTA promised investors returns of 60% from the sale of fuel products. Other co-defendants - Kenneth Grant, Jerry Cicolani and Kelly Hood – previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. About 70 investors lost $17 million in the scheme.

    Eric Bartoli, 61, pleaded guilty to charges that he operated a Ponzi scheme through his company, Cyprus Funds Inc. Bartoli was accused of raising $65 million from about 800 investors. Two other co-conspirators, Douglas Shisler and Peter Esposito were already tried and convicted. A third partner, James Binge, died while his case was pending.
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Warning: Hong Kong risks return to bad old days of corruption if ICAC’s wounds are allowed to fester

Warning: Hong Kong risks return to bad old days of corruption if ICAC’s wounds are allowed to fester | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
It goes without saying that Hong Kong needs a strong and ruthless ICAC – now, more than ever – if it doesn’t want to slide back into the bad old days. Otherwise, we can kiss all this prosperity goodbye.
There are so many unanswered questions about the ICAC that are critical to the future of our city. Is the agency really starting to buckle under political pressure? With increasing integration between Hong Kong and mainland China, can the ICAC continue going after anyone at any time without stepping on the wrong toes? And where does it really fit into China’s much bigger anti-corruption drive, if it even fits at all?
Don’t expect the ICAC to provide the answers. One of our reporters chasing up the story had condensed everything into three simple, reasonable questions that were filed to the agency. The answer was classic ICAC-style stonewalling and lack of accountability: “No information. No information. No comment.”
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America’s Global Corruption Crusade

America’s Global Corruption Crusade | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Last week, the Justice Department took the boldest action to date in its crackdown on international kleptocrats by suing three men close to Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia for allegedly pilfering more than $3 billion from the government’s investment fund.

The civil complaint accuses the prime minister’s stepson, Riza Aziz, and an ostentatious family friend, Jho Low, of using stolen funds to purchase luxurious Manhattan condominiums, go on gambling sprees in Las Vegas, acquire $200 million worth of art and bankroll Hollywood films. American prosecutors are seeking to seize more than $1 billion, a record sum in the government’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which was started in 2010.

Some have accused the United States of overreach as it has stepped up efforts to go after corrupt officials overseas through civil and criminal cases, including the racketeering indictment against leaders of FIFA that rocked the soccer governing body. Others have merely wondered why the United States should be in the business of going after crooked government officials in places like Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Korea and Venezuela.

The answer, in simplest terms, is that American officials have come to see corruption as a major cause of global instability — hindering development, deepening poverty and undermining people’s faith in their governments. It becomes not just a problem for the countries where the corruption occurs but a threat to American national security.
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Austria Indicts Former Finance Minister for Corruption

Austria Indicts Former Finance Minister for Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Austria indicted a former finance minister and 15 other people for corruption linked to a 2.45 billion euro ($2.7 billion) sale of state assets.
Karl-Heinz Grasser, 47, and the others will face charges of corruption following a seven-year investigation into 55 people, the Justice Ministry’s office for prosecuting white-collar crimes said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. Grasser’s lawyer, Manfred Ainedter, told Austrian public TV station ORF that the charges are baseless.

“There’s nothing to the allegations,” Ainedter said. “It was to be expected that the prosecutors weren’t going to say after seven years that all their efforts were in vain.”
The case stems from Austria’s decision to sell 62,000 state-owned apartments in 2004. Prosecutors allege information from Grasser’s finance ministry helped the eventual auction winner by signaling how much would be needed to bid to acquire the properties.
A confidant of Austria’s late Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider, Grasser rose to prominence when he became finance minister under ex-Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel in 2000. Grasser was the youngest person ever appointed to head that key ministry, which he led for seven years. 

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