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Corruption is not an abstract thing in Romania

Corruption is not an abstract thing in Romania | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
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The recent Commission report on corruption in the 29 member countries reveals a difference how older and newer EU member such as Romania deal with corruption, writes Sabina Iosub.

Sabina Iosub is a journalist and anchor of “Previziunile Zilei” (the Day’s Predictions) on Antena 3 television in Romania.

The power may corrupt! This statement is as old as politics is. Historians believe that the first corrupted politician was the leader of the prehistoric man tribe.

He was the first whom, in exchange of a better part of the food, allowed someone to stay closer to the fire or shared his weapons with those to supported him as  chief.

The habits are the same, only the object of trade has changed.

Nowadays, the old share of meat is represented by off-shore accounts or the stocks under different names, shady operating funds, while the place closer to the fire translates into important jobs on big company boards.

The European Commission Report on corruption has a chilling result: the European politicians are corrupted. After such a conclusion, the anti corruption lessons between the old and new European members have caught a ludic façade, not very convincing for anybody.  The commissioners need to adapt their position in front of such states as Romania or Bulgaria, the difference being made not by the corruption level, but by the determination of the anti-corruption mechanisms to track, investigate and sanction high-level corruption.

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Global Corruption
Corruption is a particularly viral form of cancer. It is caught here and there but it reappears somewhere else as soon as vigilance is relaxed. It is not eliminated, just driven underground. The corrupt merely suspend their operations temporarily. It lingers, hovering always in the background for its next opportunity.
- Gerald E. Caiden
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Corruption Eruption E-Magazine > > > "On Planet Corruption every day a new Eruption"

Corruption Eruption E-Magazine >   >  >            "On Planet Corruption every day a new Eruption" | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

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

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

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

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

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USA: John Wiley Price may contact witnesses and alleged victims in federal corruption case, judge rules

USA:  John Wiley Price may contact witnesses and alleged victims in federal corruption case, judge rules | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and his three co-defendants may contact witnesses and alleged victims in the federal corruption case against them, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Two weeks ago, Price’s attorney asked U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn to change the conditions of his release so he can communicate with staff and others who may be witnesses so he can better prepare his defense.

Price, his chief of staff Dapheny Fain and two consultants, Kathy Nealy and Christian Campbell, were released on a personal appearance bond following their July 25 arraignment.

Lynn signed an order saying that all of the defendants may make such contacts and may contact each other. The other conditions of their release remain in effect.

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The Causes & Consequences of Cuba’s Black Market

The Causes & Consequences of Cuba’s Black Market | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The Cuban press is out to get re-sellers, as though their existence were news to anyone, as though they just now realized there is a black market that’s on every street corner in the country, selling just about everything one can sell.

In a news report aired on TV, they went as far as insinuating that some employees at State stores are accomplices of those who hoard and re-sell products. They are now “discovering” that the black market stocks up, in great measure, thanks to the complicity of store clerks.

The reporting remains on the surface, addressing the effects but not daring to go to the root of a problem that has burdened the country for decades as a result of the chronic shortage of products – from screws to floor mops.

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Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Major Financial Fraud

Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Major Financial Fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The Department of Justice has reached an agreement with Bank of America totaling over $16.6 billion in penalties and consumer relief.  This constitutes the largest civil settlement with a single entity in history, addressing conduct uncovered in more than a dozen cases and investigations.  And it addresses allegations that Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Countrywide each engaged in pervasive schemes to defraud financial institutions and other investors in structured financial products known as residential mortgage-backed securities, or RMBS.

 

As part of this settlement, Bank of America has acknowledged that, in the years leading up to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008, it, Merrill Lynch, and Countrywide sold billions of dollars of RMBS backed by toxic loans whose quality, and level of risk, they knowingly misrepresented to investors and the U.S. government.  These loans contained material underwriting defects; they were secured by properties with inflated appraisals; they failed to comply with federal, state, and local laws; and they were insufficiently collateralized.  Yet these financial institutions knowingly, routinely, falsely, and fraudulently marked and sold these loans as sound and reliable investments.  Worse still, on multiple occasions – when confronted with concerns about their reckless practices – bankers at these institutions continued to mislead investors about their own standards and to securitize loans with fundamental credit, compliance, and legal defects.

 

Under the terms of this settlement, the bank has agreed to pay $7 billion in relief to struggling homeowners, borrowers, and communities affected by the bank’s conduct.  This is appropriate given the size and scope of the wrongdoing at issue.  Unfortunately, because Congress has failed to extend a law ensuring that most of this relief would not be taxable income, this debt relief will create tax liability for many consumers.  That’s why the Department secured a commitment from Bank of America to pay a portion of the settlement – over $490 million – to defray some of this tax liability.  And our settlement requires the bank to notify all consumers of the potential tax liability.

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What Bank of America Did To Warrant a $17 Billion Penalty

What Bank of America Did To Warrant a $17 Billion Penalty | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

So what did Bank of America actually do? As part of the settlement, the Justice Department has issued a 30-page “Statement of Facts,” signed by the bank, detailing the actions Bank of America is paying for today. The document includes events that took place at Merrill Lynch and Countrywide, which Bank of America later acquired. It’s full of e-mails and statements from employees and executives, which often make for infuriating, if sometimes grimly funny, reading.

Here’s what happened. In the years leading up to the financial crisis, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch sold various securities based on home loans. If the buyers paid their loan back, investors made money, but if too many defaulted, investors lost. To make sure investors knew what they were getting into, the two companies were required to report to investors on how safe these loans actually were.

The problem? Both BoA and Merrill, the statement says, knew with increasing certainty that many of their loans were troubled or at least likely to be risky, and didn’t fully disclose this.

At Merrill, one consultant in the company’s due diligence department complained in an email:

[h]ow much time do you want me to spend looking at these [loans] if [the co-head of Merrill Lynch’s RMBS business] is going to keep them regardless of issues? . . . Makes you wonder why we have due diligence performed other than making sure the loan closed.

The Merrill email pales next to the almost-cartoonish cynicism on display in some Countrywide emails. In addition to selling mortgage-backed securities, Countrywide was on the front lines giving mortgages to home buyers. Justice Department documents suggest that the company increasingly offered loans to almost anyone who walked in the door. What mattered was whether the loan could later be sold to someone else.

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Corruption is a public-private partnership

Corruption is a public-private partnership | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

IS CORRUPTION a public-or private-sector problem? We are again being reminded that it is both — which is why finger-pointing between the suburbs and the government gets us nowhere.

A few days ago, "at least 22 people" were arrested for corrupting Johannesburg’s billing system. The alleged crime was collusion between municipal officials and "up to 500 high-end users" — malls, hotels, real estate and car dealers. Officials are accused of changing the city’s database to enable companies to avoid paying for electricity. Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan says this may be a common practice.

All of which should challenge the way many of us think about problems in the government. Johannesburg’s billing system — of which this writer is a victim — has been a plague to residents for years. We were repeatedly told that it would be fixed, but it wasn’t. This prompted the usual reaction from many in the suburbs — the incompetent affirmative action appointments in government were once again messing up because they did not know how to do their jobs.

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Criminals Posing as CFOs to Commit Wire Fraud

Criminals Posing as CFOs to Commit Wire Fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

A new, fast-proliferating type of online fraud is posing yet another security threat to small and large companies alike. Bank of the West, which is taking a leadership role in publicizing the threat, calls it “masquerading.”

It’s a twist on a fraud attempt that became common in 2012, in which criminals hacked into companies’ email or financial systems for purposes of altering communications between corporate executives and financial institutions. Now the bad guys have upped the ante by issuing fraudulent communications within companies.

In the scheme, a hacker poses as a senior executive, often the CFO, controller or CEO, and issues a communication directing a lower-level employee to urgently execute a financial transaction, like a confidential business investment or a payment to a vendor. Money is then wired or transmitted through the Automated Clearing House to a bogus account.

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The indictment of Rick Perry: An awesome turn of events

The indictment of Rick Perry: An awesome turn of events | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

At first the indictments seemed like a real blow. Mr Perry is planning to step down as governor of Texas next year, after 14 years on the job. He is widely thought to be considering another run at the Republican presidential nomination, and he had been riding high this summer, at least among Republicans, after a robust response to the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children into Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and a string of well-received appearances around the country. Just last week, in high spirits, Mr Perry offered a candid self-assessment in Iowa: “I’m awesome.” So the timing of these charges, at least, is surely less than ideal.

And yet less than 48 hours after the indictments were announced it was worth asking whether Mr Perry was born lucky. The special prosecutor, Michael Crum, has yet to lay out all of his evidence against the governor. Based on the charges laid out in the indictment, though, even liberals quickly became sceptical. David Axelrod, a former advisor to Barack Obama, tweeted that it seemed “sketchy.” “Unbelievably ridiculous,” wrote Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine. To Ari Melber at MSNBC, the indictment looked “very weak.”

At issue is Mr Perry’s response to an April 2013 episode in which the district attorney of Travis County, Rosemary Lehmberg, was arrested for drunk driving and sentenced to 45 days in jail. The governor was not alone in calling for her resignation. Many Democrats quietly agreed with him, although they publicly backed Ms Lehmberg (in Texas it is possible to prosecute while incarcerated). Travis County, which encompasses Austin, is heavily Democratic, and the district attorney’s office includes something called the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates corruption among statewide officials—most of whom, in Texas, are Republican. Travis County’s district attorney, in other words, is in theory one of the most powerful Democratic officials in Texas. If Ms Lehmberg resigned, Mr Perry would have had a chance to appoint a Republican to replace her.

 
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After Prison Stint, Former Mayor Eyes Comeback

After Prison Stint, Former Mayor Eyes Comeback | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

 The man who ran Providence, Rhode Island, for 22 of the past 50 years is convinced that his hometown needs him again and isn't going to let a little thing like the five years he spent in prison on a racketeering conviction stand in his way.

Vincent "Buddy" Cianci stunned the city's political wags early this summer when he told his radio talk show audience that he would run for a third stint as mayor of Providence, hours before the deadline to declare his candidacy.

Both of Cianci's turns as mayor ended in court. In 1984 he pleaded guilty to assaulting an acquaintance and in 2002 he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy after a sting operation on corruption in city government, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation had nicknamed "Operation Plunderdome."

Cianci, who is running as an independent, has a reasonable shot at coming out on top of what is expected to be a three-way race, joining a long line of U.S. politicians to win back voters' support after scandal, according to political analysts.

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Cobalt International Energy: Oil, Angola and Corruption

Cobalt International Energy: Oil, Angola and Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The US oil company Cobalt International Energy Inc. has been issued with a Wells Notice by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in relation to its operations in Angola. The Wells Notice formally warns Cobalt that it may face enforcement action for breaches of “certain federal securities laws”: 

Cobalt’s exploration in Angolan offshore waters started in 2008, in partnership with the state-owned oil company Sonangol and two other local companies, Alper Oil and Nazaki Oil & Gas. The SEC commenced investigation into Cobalt’s Angolan operations in 2011 following claims by an investigative journalist, Rafael Marques de Morais, that Nazaki was secretly owned by government officials. In 2012, the three officials concerned confirmed to the Financial Times that they had indeed owned shares in Nazaki via another company at the time that Cobalt’s involvement started. The intermediate company has now been dissolved, though that does not necessarily mean the officials themselves have disposed of their indirect holdings.

The three officials concerned are Manuel Vicente; General Manuel Helder Vieira Dias Junior (nicknamed “Kopelipa”); and General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, known as Dino. All three are senior figures in the Angolan Government. Manuel Vicente, currently Vice-President, is favorite to succeed Eduardo dos Santos as President.

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Liberal Party apologises to NSW voters after more MPs resign over corruption allegations

Liberal Party apologises to NSW voters after more MPs resign over corruption allegations | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The state branch of the Liberal Party has issued an apology to the people of NSW for the ‘‘reprehensible’’ conduct of its politicians revealed before the Independent Commission Against Corruption. 

Premier Mike Baird said the Liberals would not contest byelections in Newcastle and Charlestown, to be held on October 25, as a result.

‘‘This decision is a symbol that says we are sorry for the actions that have been seen over the past few days and weeks,’’ Mr Baird said. ‘‘We strongly believe we have forfeited our right to represent those electorates – but we will never stop delivering on those services we have committed to,’’ Mr Baird told The Sun-Herald.

A horror week for the Baird government included the resignations of two Liberal MPs from the NSW Parliament, forcing the byelections, after admitting they had accepted $10,000 in illegal cash donations in paper envelopes and lied. The number of NSW politicians suspended from the Liberal Party has swelled to eight.
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In an open letter to NSW voters, Liberals state director Tony Nutt will say on Sunday the Liberal Party apologises for the ‘‘extraordinary and reprehensible conduct of a small number of its elected representatives, members and activists’’.



Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/liberal-party-apologises-to-nsw-voters-after-more-mps-resign-over-corruption-allegations-20140816-104v1z.html#ixzz3AfhgMYDZ
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Ousted chief accuses border agency of shooting cover-ups, corruption

Ousted chief accuses border agency of shooting cover-ups, corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

James F. Tomsheck, the recently removed head of internal affairs, had harsh criticism for Customs and Border Protection in a sweeping and unauthorized interview with The Center for Investigative Reporting....

 

A former U.S. Secret Service agent for 23 years, Tomsheck said he believed that between 5 and 10 percent of border agents and officers are actively corrupt or were at some point in their career. Those crimes include stealing government property, leaking sensitive information and taking bribes to look the other way when smugglers bring drugs or people into the country.

“To a large degree, it (corruption) was an undetected problem and far more severe than the actual number of arrests,” he said.

Other high-ranking officials have backed up Tomsheck’s accusations.

In briefings to the FBI in fall 2012, senior Customs and Border Protection leaders outside of internal affairs had pegged the corruption rate among employees at one time or another in their career as high as 20 percent or more. Shocked by that “integrity gap,” the FBI adjusted its priorities to focus its anti-corruption efforts on federal employees, with an emphasis on border agents and officers, said Ronald Hosko, a retired FBI assistant director for the criminal investigative division who attended the briefings.

“The FBI remains committed to working with all of its interagency partners to address corruption and is actively engaged in working to ensure the cooperation between the FBI and its partners remains strong,” said Joseph S. Campbell, the current assistant director for the criminal investigative division.

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Regulators pushing banks to rid casinos of money-laundering

Regulators pushing banks to rid casinos of money-laundering | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Large global banks are facing increased pressure from U.S. regulators to clamp down on casino money-laundering as the government pushes the industry to police not only its own transactions but customers' as well.

Bankers, casino executives and consultants said the U.S. crackdown has resulted in unprecedented scrutiny and collaboration between the two industries, including banks vetting casino customers' anti-money laundering systems, checking to make sure casinos don’t accept anonymous wire transfers, and offering databases and other information to help the gamingindustry identify risky transactions.

While the idea of money-laundering through casinos is nothing new – and has been fodder for plots in Hollywood movies like "Casino" – until recently, banks haven't been expected to take part in regulators' and prosecutors' pursuit of such criminals.

Some bank executives grumble about the extent of the work they have to do for government enforcement agencies now, and the penalty for failure. Standard Chartered Plc said on August 6 that a computer in its anti-money-laundering surveillance system made an error, which a source said could trigger fines between $100 million ( 60 million pounds) and $340 million payable to New York State's financial regulator. In an interview with Reuters on August 7, Standard Chartered Chief Executive of Asia, Jaspal Bindra, said the penalties are unfair.

"We are supposed to police that our counterparties and clients are not money laundering," said Bindra, "and if when we are policing we have a lapse, we don't get treated like a policeman who's had a lapse, we are treated like a criminal."

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Corruption is killing Ghana

Corruption is killing Ghana | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Mr. Richard Quayson, a Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Tuesday said the future of the country would be bleak if the existing level of corruption continued.

Corruption, he said, was killing the nation and destroying the gains that had been made. Mr. Quayson, who was speaking at a sensitization programme for journalists at Takoradi said, “Corruption had become a dictatorship, and everybody was submitting to it."

He said the people were paying the price for corruption and, therefore, the fight against the practice must be everybody’s concern. Mr. Quayson said the CHRAJ, media and civil society had a role to play in actively addressing corruption and governance issues. He said Ghana was reviewed under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and it had been ascertained that the country had done well in terms of legislations against corruption and establishment of anti-corruption institutions.

Mr. Quayson said the country was weak in the implementation of the legislations and anti-corruption institutions. There was the need to correct past mistakes, mobilize resources and invest them in the fight against corruption, he said. Mr. Charles Ayamdoo, Director of the Anti-Corruption Department of CHRAJ, said the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) was a national plan of action to combat corruption in the country in the next 10 years.

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Xi Jinping's Anti-Corruption Campaign May Slow Down China's Economy, And That Could Be Good

Xi Jinping's Anti-Corruption Campaign May Slow Down China's Economy, And That Could Be Good | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign is popular, but it may be slowing economic growth, which might be good...

 

China’s leaders want to promote consumption, but the Xi administration is cracking down on industries -- such as luxury goods, high-end hotels, and automobiles -- that spur it.

But Cheng Li, an expert in Chinese politics at the Brookings Institute, argues that official corruption distorts the economy by siphoning off money from its most productive uses, and a crackdown will actually be good for the economy’s long-term health.

“Tax dollars that previously served to fund unsolicited purchases are being returned to public coffers,” he wrote in July, “Money can then be spent on the projects it was supposed to fund initially, thus leading to improved infrastructure, public services, and employment rates.”

But China’s willingness to slow the economy has its limits. Consider the housing market. After Beijing tightened credit early in 2014 in order to cool down the market -- which, Snyder argues, suffers from “over-capacity” -- prices in several urban markets began to drop quickly. But rather than let the slowdown continue, Beijing reversed course and loosened restrictions on home purchases. Prices have since begun to rise.

 

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Former Aéropostale Executive Is Sentenced to 8 Years for Fraud

Former Aéropostale Executive Is Sentenced to 8 Years for Fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Christopher Finazzo, the former second in command at Aéropostale, the apparel company, was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in a scheme with a vendor...

 

The audio recording of the firing in 2006 became a key piece of evidence in the trial of Mr. Finazzo, who came to be accused of receiving $25 million for directing hundreds of millions in Aéropostale T-shirt and fleece orders to a company called South Bay Apparel, run by a friend, Douglas Dey.

Mr. Finazzo received half of the profits from Aéropostale’s purchases from South Bay, meaning he had incentive not only to route orders there but also to increase the prices Aéropostale was paying.

Mr. Finazzo, 58, was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy at trial, and on Wednesday, a judge in Federal District Court in Brooklyn sentenced him to eight years in prison.

As Mr. Finazzo routed business to South Bay, some employees objected. But he angrily brushed off their concerns, breaking a pencil when one complained and firing another, an assistant United States attorney, Winston Paes, said at Wednesday’s hearing.

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Here's How Much Banks Have Paid Out Since the Financial Crisis

Here's How Much Banks Have Paid Out Since the Financial Crisis | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Since the crisis, the six largest banks by assets have paid more than $123.5 billion in settlements over faulty mortgages, according to previous data from SNL Financialand incorporating the latest settlement. Authorities have forced the banks to pay the majority of that amount, and more deals are likely: Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo are bothreportedly on deck.

Here are seven of the largest government settlements:

$25 Billion
Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Ally Financial

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Bank of America agrees to historic $17B settlement of mortgage claims (+video)

Bank of America agrees to historic $17B settlement of mortgage claims (+video) | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it has reached a record-setting $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America for its role in the 2008 housing crisis. The settlement is the largest ever reached between regulators and a single company.

The deal comes after months of negotiations between the Justice Department and the Bank of America. The Justice Department accused the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank of misleading investors into buying risky mortgage securities. The problems stem largely from Bank of America’s 2008 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Countrywide Financial Corp.

During negotiations, Bank of America said they could not be held accountable for risky lending practices of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, but prosecutors said the bank profited from those actions, even threatening to file a lawsuit against the if bank rejected a cash settlement. Bank of America eventually agreed to the settlement, which is approximately equal to the bank’s total profit for the past three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

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Six ways to protect your company from bribery risks

Six ways to protect your company from bribery risks | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

If you’re a UK company operating overseas, are you aware that you and your employees still fall under the jurisdiction of the 2010 UK Bribery Act?

Our UK Bribery Act 2010: Implications outside the UK briefing paper, released today, highlights the ‘adequate procedures’ approved by the Ministry of Justice that you can put in place in your company to protect yourself from conviction. 


Carry out risk assessments 

Clearly documented bribery risk assessments should be carried out periodically which also take into account the nature of the organisation’s bribery risk profile. If your company hasn't already, it’s time to introduce specific procedures to prevent and detect bribery in high risk areas.
 

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How technology is beating corruption

How technology is beating corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Good governance is critical for all countries around the world today. When it doesn’t exist, many governments fail to deliver public services effectively, health and education services are often substandard and corruption persists in rich and poor countries alike, choking opportunity and growth. It will be difficult to reduce extreme poverty — let alone end it — without addressing the importance of good governance.

But this is not a hopeless situation. In fact, a new wave of progress on governance suggests we may be on the threshold of a transformational era. Countries are tapping into some of the most powerful forces in the world today to improve services and transparency. These forces include the spread of information technology and its convergence with grassroots movements for transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment. In some places, this convergence is easing the path to better-performing and more accountable governments.

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Bank Overseer PwC Faces Penalty and Sidelining of Regulatory Consulting Unit

Bank Overseer PwC Faces Penalty and Sidelining of Regulatory Consulting Unit | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

PricewaterhouseCoopers is said to have agreed to pay a $25 million fine in New York for obscuring misconduct it was supposed to unearth...

 

The giant consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers occupies a position of trust on Wall Street, acting as a shadow regulator of sorts that promises the government an impartial look inside the world’s biggest banks.

But the firm — hired and paid by the banks it examines — has now landed in the regulatory spotlight for obscuring some of the same misconduct it was supposed to unearth, according to confidential documents and interviews with people briefed on the matter.

New York State’s financial regulator is poised to announce a settlement with PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to the interviews, taking aim at the consulting firm for watering down a report about one of the world’s biggest banks, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. The regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky, will impose a $25 million penalty against PricewaterhouseCoopers and prevent one of its consulting units from taking on certain assignments from New York-regulated banks for two years, a reputational blow that could cause some banking clients to leave.

The firm, which is accused of lacking the objectivity and integrity expected of consultants but not actually breaking the law, agreed to pay the fine and accept the two-year sidelining of its regulatory consulting unit. PricewaterhouseCoopers appeared to have had little choice: Mr. Lawsky’s office, which has the authority under a little-known New York law to censure erring consultants even without a legal violation, threatened to otherwise inflict a more sweeping and lengthy prohibition.

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malek's comment, August 20, 7:49 AM
RIP Sarbanes–Oxley Act.., as if it was ever alive
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Budget transparency is the key to tackling corruption | NewsChina Magazine

Budget transparency is the key to tackling corruption | NewsChina Magazine | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Since assuming power in 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly stressed that the Chinese government will endeavor to establish a “modern and mature” system of governance by balancing the relationship between the State and the market.

In a keynote document released in 2013, the Chinese government promised to allow the market to “play a leading role” in the allocation of public resources.

One approach in this regard has been to allow government entities to procure public services from NGOs. An established practice in many Western countries, a government procurement system is claimed by advocates to simultaneously improve the quality of public services and the efficient use of public funds. As NGOs compete with one another for government procurement contracts, they will theoretically be able to provide better public services in a more efficient manner.

In the past couple of years, relevant programs to this end have been launched in various localities such as Guangdong and Shanghai. Unfortunately, it appears that the reform has done nothing to curtail corruption, a prevalent problem within the government. It is reported that in relevant programs as much as 40 percent of allocated funds end up in the pockets of government officials, leading some to warn that this new sector is already a bastion of graft.

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Chinese officials rush to sell luxury homes amid corruption crackdown

Chinese officials rush to sell luxury homes amid corruption crackdown | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

China's corruption crackdown has already taken a bite out of the hospitality sector in China with its ban on lavish banquets and is now starting to make waves in another corner of the economy, as officials afraid of government scrutiny are dumping apartments.

In one case late last year, an Inner Mongolia political leader named Wu Zhizhong was convicted of corruption, accepting bribes and embezzling public funds. Investigators said Mr. Wu owned 33 properties in China and one house in Canada. Xinhua, China's official news agency, said the keys to all of his homes could fill up an entire handbag.

Cai Bin, a former Guangzhou official dubbed "Uncle House" on social media, was also convicted last year for accepting bribes. Investigators said he and his family owned more than 20 homes.

Those cases, and others like them, have raised alarm bells among local government leaders.

According to roughly a dozen property agents interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, officials are now afraid to buy luxury pads, and several are trying to offload properties that might raise red flags.

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Does China's latest corruption purge have any real teeth?

Does China's latest corruption purge have any real teeth? | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

As an inquiry into a top Chinese official's affairs begins, President Xi appears to be ushering in much-needed reforms...

 

Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao used to say: "If we don't deal with corruption, China will be doomed, but if we deal with it too harshly, the Communist Party will be doomed." Xi obviously wants to save both China and the Communist Party, but how? Liberal political reform is not on his agenda.

China faces a potentially turbulent decade of transition, both politically and economically. An increasingly highly educated urban middle class is no longer amenable to old-style communist authoritarianism. And neither is China's semi-advanced economy conducive to the old corrupt ways.

Xi has already proven to be as China's strongest leader since Deng. If Xi succeeds in tackling corruption, he may yet emerge as an "enlightened despot" in the mould of Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore is the only non-democratic state among the top five of the world's least corrupt countries - a model which China could seek to emulate.

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A Medicare scam that just kept rolling

A Medicare scam that just kept rolling | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The government has paid billions to buy power wheelchairs. It has no idea how many of the claims are bogus...

 

The wheelchair scam was designed to exploit blind spots in Medicare, which often pays insurance claims without checking them first. Criminals disguised themselves as medical-supply companies. They ginned up bogus bills, saying they’d provided expensive wheelchairs to Medicare patients — who, in reality, didn’t need wheelchairs at all. Then the scammers asked Medicare to pay them back, so they could pocket the huge markup that the government paid on each chair.

A lot of the time, Medicare was fooled. The government paid.

Since 1999, Medicare has spent $8.2 billion to procure power wheelchairs and “scooters” for 2.7 million people. Today, the government cannot even guess at how much of that money was paid out to scammers.

Now, the golden age of the wheelchair scam is probably over.

But, while it lasted, the scam illuminated a critical failure point in the federal bureaucracy: Medicare’s weak defenses against fraud. The government knew how the wheelchair scheme worked in 1998. But it wasn’t until 15 years later that officials finally did enough to significantly curb the practice.

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INDONESIA: President’s Son in $200k Bribery Allegation

INDONESIA: President’s Son in $200k Bribery Allegation | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

 A key witness has alleged that Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, the youngest son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, took a $200,000 backhander from a slew of “dirty projects” handled by Anas Urbaningrum, the former Democratic Party chairman currently standing trial for corruption.

Yulianis, a former close aide to Anas, testified at the latter’s trial on Thursday that Muhammad Nazaruddin, the former Democrat treasurer, handed the money to Edhie in April 2010, a month before the party congress that saw Anas elected party chairman – allegedly by buying votes from scores of party officials.

“Before the congress, Nazaruddin gave money to Andi and to Edhie,” Yulianis told the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court, referring to Andi Mallarangeng, Anas’s rival at the congress for the Democrat chair.

She added that the payments had been authorized by Anas.

Edhie at the time held an influential position as chairman of the steering committee for the congress. Anas named Edhie the Democrat secretary general, the number two post in the party, shortly after he won the party chair.

This is not the first time Edhie has been alleged to have taken a bribe in connection with the congress, which Anas is accused of having rigged with the aid of a Rp 100 billion ($8.5 million) kickback from state-owned constructor Adhi Karya in exchange for helping it win a Rp 2.5 trillion government contract to build a sports center in Hambalang, Bogor.

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