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Corruption is not an abstract thing in Romania

Corruption is not an abstract thing in Romania | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
T

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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American corruption is exceptional, too

American corruption is exceptional, too | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

"...here’s the difference between the United States and many truly lawless nations that happen to be strategically important to Washington at the moment: Corrupt U.S. politicians invariably get caught, sometimes because they overreach, sometimes because an ambitious prosecutor or an investigative reporter comes along to expose the scam.

Nobody in New York was more powerful that William Tweed, the infamous boss of the Tammany Hall political machine, in the years following the Civil War. He had allies in all the right places, particularly the comptroller’s office, where the city’s books were cooked until they were overdone. But when a political enemy brought evidence of Tweed’s corruption to the New York Times in 1871, the powerful boss found himself alone and exposed. Tweed was arrested, convicted and sent to prison, where he died a broken man in 1878 at age 55.

Many a dubious private fortune was made during the Gilded Age; robber barons like Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie reaped vast riches. But Tweed, the face of public corruption, was the one notorious figure from the era to serve time in prison."

Like Tweed, Spiro T. Agnew no doubt figured he had friends in all the right places. Heck, he was vice president of the United States! But in 1973, just months after he and President Richard M. Nixon were resoundingly reelected, a federal prosecutor accused Agnew of accepting bribes while he served as county executive of Baltimore, governor of Maryland and even as vice president.


Vice President Spiro Agnew telling the media that he had resigned, outside Federal Court in Baltimore, 1973. REUTERS/Archive

Agnew pleaded no contest and resigned in disgrace. Agnew remains probably the highest U.S. elected official driven out of office because of corruption. Nixon, who resigned in disgrace a year later, was brought down more for abuse of power than graft and bribery.

Thanks to courageous journalists and incorruptible prosecutors, the list of U.S. grafters and bribe-takers who were caught and convicted is long and storied.

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UK: ‘Corruption for sexual gratification’: Damning report reveals rising police misconduct

UK:  ‘Corruption for sexual gratification’: Damning report reveals rising police misconduct | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Rising numbers of British police officers deal drugs or use their power for “sexual gratification,” a previously shelved report claims.

Incidents are thought to include making sexual passes at vulnerable victims and seeking “favors” from prostitutes.

While not endemic, sexual exploitation was listed as a “major concern” in the previously unpublished report.

Conducted by the now defunct Serious Organized Crime Agency, the assessment of British police also found rising numbers of officers were dealing in class A and B drugs.

British police forces have been embroiled in a series of corruption scandals in recent years which have seen “bent” cops found guilty of offenses including sexual assault, fraud and the production of drugs.

The three-year-long study was based on intelligence reports into police forces across England and Wales.

Originally concluded in June 2013, the report was only made public Thursday as part of a wider investigation into police corruption led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

HMIC said: “The assessment highlighted corruption for sexual gratification is a major concern. The number of reported incidents has been increasing since 2009.”

“Abuse and supply of Class A and B controlled drugs is occurring more frequently among a greater number of forces than was reported in 2010.”
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USA: Pennsylvania Treasurer McCord to plead guilty in campaign finance case

USA: Pennsylvania Treasurer McCord to plead guilty in campaign finance case | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Pennsylvania's state treasurer has resigned and plans to plead guilty to federal charges accusing him of using his office to threaten potential campaign donors during his failed gubernatorial primary race last year.

Democrat Rob McCord apologized for his actions in a video statement released by his lawyers Friday and resigned immediately.

His lawyers say he'll plead guilty and that charges could be filed as early as next week.

McCord is the second statewide official in Pennsylvania facing some sort of official scrutiny. Attorney General Kathleen Kane potentially faces charges for allegedly giving secret investigative material to a newspaper.
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FedBid is prohibited from new government contracts after watchdog report on N.Va. firm

FedBid is prohibited from new government contracts after watchdog report on N.Va. firm | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The federal government has barred a fast-growing Northern Virginia contractor with deep ties to the Washington establishment from winning new work because of “conduct indicating a lack of business honesty or integrity.”

The ruling against FedBid comes after a government watchdog report that found the Vienna-based company aggressively went after a Veterans Affairs contracting official who put a halt on one of its contracts. In addition to the immediate exclusion from new government work, the company faces potential debarment, which could prevent it from securing new government work for a significant period and is one of the most serious actions the government can take against a contractor.

Backed by a $25 million investment from AOL founder Steve Case’s venture capital firm, FedBid grew rapidly in recent years, operating Web sites used by contractors to bid on government business. In addition to Case, the company has ties to many key players in Washington. Its chief executive, Joe Jordan, is the former head of the White House’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and it counts Washington sports mogul Ted Leonsis and former Army chief of staff retired Gen. George W. Casey Jr. among its directors.

Last year, the company was the subject of an investigation by the Veterans Affairs inspector general, which found that an agency contracting official helped steer a contract to the company. When a more senior VA official became concerned about the contract and put a hold on it, FedBid mounted an aggressive campaign to have the moratorium overturned, the IG found. It concluded that FedBid executives were part of an effort to discredit the VA official who put the hold on the contract and to “unduly influence VA decision makers.”

“Need to assassinate his character and discredit him,” read an e-mail from a top executive in 2012, according to the IG. The firm also vowed to “unleash the hounds” and “take off the gloves” in its “storm the castle” campaign to win back the business.
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News - Daily Corruption News: 29 January 2015

News - Daily Corruption News: 29 January 2015 | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Global: Transparency International battles corruption worldwide
Christian Science Monitor (TI mention)

When Carmela, a middle-aged woman in a makeshift homeless settlement in Venezuela, witnessed her grown son being beaten and dragged out of his apartment by the police, she knew that arranging for his freedom would be a difficult task.



MORE NEWS

Global: UK Alstom bribery investigation swings spotlight onto Hungary
Reuters

Pakistan:  Convicted spot-fixer Mohammad Amir cleared to return to cricket in Pakistan
The Guardian

Panama: Panama to launch corruption inquiry into former president
The Guardian

South Korea: Bombardier Transportation accused of corruption in South Korea
CBC

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka reinstates impeached chief justice
Malaysia Insider
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SOUTH AFRICA: R700 billion lost to corruption in 20 years

SOUTH AFRICA: R700 billion lost to corruption in 20 years | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

South Africa has lost R700 billion to corruption over the last 20 years, the Institute of Internal Auditors said on Wednesday.

"The cost of corruption in the last 20 years... we have lost R700 billion," CEO Claudelle von Eck said at the launch of the Anti-Intimidation and Ethical Practices Forum in Johannesburg.

Von Eck, who is the forum's chairwoman, said people who tried to report corruption were often muzzled.

"Members are being intimidated when they try and raise the issue of corruption in an organisation."

Von Eck said the forum aimed to educate its members about corruption, advise them how to reveal corruption, and what to do when whistle-blowers were intimidated.

It was intended to be a professional collective voice which would make pronouncements about the state of governance in the country.

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In Argentina, terrorists and gangsters get away with murder

In Argentina, terrorists and gangsters get away with murder | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
, Mr. Nisman filed a 300-page criminal complaint with the Argentine Supreme Court accusing Mrs. Kirchner and her foreign minister, Hector Timerman, of conspiring to cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing, agreeing to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects, and helping to get their names removed from the Interpol list. Iranian oil was to flow to Argentina in exchange, and Iran was to purchase large quantities of Argentine grain. Mr. Nisman asked a federal judge to freeze millions of dollars of assets belonging to the president and others named in the complaint.

His evidence reportedly included wiretaps of phone calls “between people close to Mrs. Kirchner” and a number of Iranians, including Mr. Rabbani, the Iranian diplomat. It’s worth noting that one of Mr. Rabbani’s agents, Abdul Kadir, is currently serving a life sentence in an American prison for his role in a foiled plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

According to an Argentine newspaper, La Nacion, opposition lawmaker Patricia Bullrich said Mr. Nisman told her he also had wiretaps of phone calls in which an Argentine intelligence agent revealed details about his family to one of the Iranians charged in connection with the AMIA bombing. “He told me that it was an arrow to his heart,” Ms. Bullrich recalled.

On Sunday, Jan. 18, the night before Mr. Nisman was scheduled to testify before a closed-door Argentine congressional hearing, he was found dead in the bathroom of his 13th floor apartment, a revolver on the floor next to his body.

Mrs. Kirchner was quick to suggest he had taken his own life. “What drives a person to commit such a terrible act?” she posted on her Facebook page. When the evidence appeared to contradict that theory (for example, there was no gunpowder residue on his hands) she asserted that Mr. Nisman had indeed been murdered — but as part of a plot directed at her.

“Prosecutor Nisman’s charges were never in themselves the true operation against the government,” she posted. “They collapsed early on.” On Jan. 22, on a personal webpage, she wrote: “Today I have no proof but I also have no doubts. Nisman didn’t know and probably never would. They used him while he was alive and later needed him dead. It’s that sad and terrible.”

According to Agence France Presse, some of her aides have now “pointed to former intelligence officials who were recently fired, including the former chief of operations of the Intelligence Secretariate, Antonio Stiusso, who worked closely with Nisman.” In a TV address on Monday, she announced a plan “to dissolve the Intelligence Secretariat and create a Federal Intelligence Agency.”

In other words, the waters are being methodically muddied. Over the weekend, it was reported that Damian Pachter, the journalist who first reported Mr. Nisman’s death, had fled Argentina “because my life is in danger.”
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Q. and A.: Raymond W. Baker on Financial Fraud in China

Q. and A.: Raymond W. Baker on Financial Fraud in China | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

From 2003 to 2012, $6.6 trillion was secretly and illegally funneled out of developing and emerging economies by entities that may have been involved in crime, corruption and tax evasion, according to a new report by Global Financial Integrity, a nonprofit economic analysis and policy advisory organization based in Washington.

Nearly 80 percent of that money was transferred through fraudulent trade invoices, falsifying the value of trade deals, making it possible for the funds to illicitly leave one country and move offshore, the report said. The huge outflows are a major problem for poor and middle-income economies. In 2012 alone, there were $991.2 billion in illicit financial flows. The biggest amounts left China, Russia, Mexico and India.

Raymond W. Baker, the president of Global Financial Integrity and an authority on money laundering and corruption, discussed the situation in China

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Webb County, Texas Commissioner Sentenced to 76 Months in Prison for Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Official Actions | OPA | Department of Justice

Webb County, Texas Commissioner Sentenced to 76 Months in Prison for Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Official Actions | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Kristopher Michael Montemayor, 37, of Laredo, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of federal programs bribery on June 19, 2014.  In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay a fine of $109,405.72 and to forfeit $13,721.16.

In his plea agreement, Montemayor admitted that he solicited and accepted multiple bribes in exchange for promising to perform official acts.  Specifically, Montemayor admitted that he accepted three separate bribe payments totaling $11,000 and over $2,700 in electronics and other merchandise, including two Apple iPads and two pairs of Dr. Dre Beats Solo HD headphones, from a businessman who, unbeknownst to Montemayor, was an undercover law enforcement agent.  In exchange for the cash and the other items, Montemayor promised to take various forms of official action to promote the business interests of the undercover agent.

Montemayor also admitted to accepting a 2012 Ford F-150 pick-up truck, worth approximately $37,000, in exchange for providing government jobs to the vehicle owner and his spouse.  As a result of these appointments, the vehicle owner and his wife received salaries of $26,000 and $45,553 from Webb County.  Montemayor admitted that the vehicle owner performed little or no work in exchange for his government salary.

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News - Daily Corruption News: 26 January 2015

China: Death threats and dawn raids: Welcome to China's anti-graft drive
Businessweek

Denmark: Danish FA wants special court to deal with sports corruption
Reuters

Kazakhstan: Kazakh border chief pleads not guilty to corruption charge
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Indonesia: Indonesian anti-graft deputy offers to resign, investors fret
Reuters

South Africa: 'Dismantling' of anti-corruption team proof government isn't serious about fighting graft: Zille
SAPA

US: Prosecutor urges reform after charging NY speaker with corruption
Reuters
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USA: Antitrust Division Announces Fiscal Year Total in Criminal Fines Collected

USA:  Antitrust Division Announces Fiscal Year Total in Criminal Fines Collected | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The Department of Justice collected $1.861 billion in criminal fines and penalties resulting from Antitrust Division prosecutions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2014.  Contributing in part to one of the largest yearly collections for the division, five of the companies paid in full penalties that exceeded $100 million, including a $425 million criminal fine levied against Bridgestone Corp., the fourth-largest fine the Antitrust Division has ever obtained.  The second-largest fine collected was a $195 million criminal fine levied against Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd.  The three additional companies that paid fines and penalties exceeding $100 million were Mitsubishi Electric Corp. with $190 million, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. with $120 million and JTEKT Corp. with $103.2 million.  The collection total also includes penalties of more than $561 million received as a result of the division’s LIBOR investigation, which has been conducted in cooperation with the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  In addition, in the last fiscal year the division obtained jail terms for 21 individual defendants, with an average sentence of 26 months, the third-highest average ever. 

“The size of these penalties is an unfortunate reminder of the powerful temptation to cheat the American consumer and profit from collusion,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer for the Antitrust Division. 
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USA: A Republican scenemaker faces fraud charges

USA: A Republican scenemaker faces fraud charges | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
For Bucks County Republicans and power brokers, the parties at Claire Risoldi's extravagant mansion near New Hope were unforgettable affairs.

Risoldi would book bands. Occasionally she brought in performers to impersonate celebrities including Frank Sinatra or Cher. The Mummers made at least one appearance. She even held her own wedding in front of a crowd that had paid for tickets to a fund-raiser for Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick.

"Claire's larger than life," said District Attorney David Heckler, a Republican who had at least one soiree thrown in his honor at Risoldi's estate, a 10-acre property known as Clairemont. "No expense was spared."

Occasionally, guests would whisper about where Risoldi got her money, since her only known job was in her daughter's law office. She often explained that she inherited a windfall from her late husband's successful tile company.

State prosecutors provided their own theory last week: rampant insurance fraud. The Attorney General's Office on Thursday charged Risoldi and several members of her family with bilking insurers out of $20 million after her mansion caught fire three times in five years.

With the proceeds, prosecutors allege, the Risoldis bought six Ferraris, two Rolls-Royces, another house, and $1.2 million worth of jewelry.

Among those also charged with fraud and other crimes were her daughter, Carla Risoldi; son, Carl Risoldi; and husband, Thomas French.

Each was free on bail after their arrests Thursday. A lawyer for Claire Risoldi said she would fight the charges.

In interviews Friday, some of her well-heeled party guests said they were unaware of her allegedly ill-gotten income, not to mention her 1990 federal fraud conviction.

The state grand jury presentment alleges an extravagant lifestyle perpetuated by decades of lies, allowing Risoldi to mingle with the county's Republican elite.
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USA: Feds Detail Crime and Punishment in Five Trucking Investigations

USA:  Feds Detail Crime and Punishment in Five Trucking Investigations | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The Office of Inspection General at the U.S. Transportation Department Friday released new details in five separate legal cases against six people for crimes that include falsifying truck driver drug and alcohol test results, fraudulent commercial driver’s license testing, violating Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration out-of-service orders and lying on a truck driver application.

Fraudulent CDL Test-Taking Scheme
On Jan. 21, Inocente Gonzalez and LaToya Bourne pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with an alleged widespread fraudulent commercial driver’s license test-taking scheme in New York State.

A total of 11 individuals were indicted in October 2013, including Gonzalez and Bourne.

The investigation revealed that fraudulent CDL test-taking activities had occurred at five known state test centers in the New York City area, according to the inspector general’s office. Surveillance operations, including the use of remote observation posts and pole-cameras, identified the defendants participating in the fraud scheme, including New York State Department of Motor Vehicles security personnel, an external test-taker, facilitators, "runners" and lookouts.

Conspiring CDL applicants allegedly paid facilitators between $1,800 and $2,500 in return for CDL exam answers and escort assistance through DMV processes. Fraud schemes included the use of pencils containing miniaturized encoded test answers, the use of a Bluetooth headset as a communication device to relay CDL test answers, and the use of an external test-taker positioned nearby to take the exams, according to the inspector general’s office.

Both Gonzalez and Bourne were employed as security guards at New York State DMV locations in Manhattan, New York.
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News - Daily Corruption News: 30 January 2015

News - Daily Corruption News: 30 January 2015 | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Global: Clean hands to carwash: Brazil probe follows Italy model
Bloomberg

Global: SEC drops corruption probe into Cobalt
Financial Times

China: China expels top police official from Communist Party
Reuters

South Korea: Ruling party lawmaker gets jail term for bribery
Yonhap

Thailand: 2 senior officers sentenced to jail in Thai police scandal
Associated Press
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COLUMBIA, S.C.: Agape eldercare, hospice centers hit with lawsuits alleging unnecessary billings

COLUMBIA, S.C.: Agape eldercare, hospice centers hit with lawsuits alleging unnecessary billings | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Agape, one of South Carolina’s largest elder care businesses, is vigorously contesting an ongoing federal civil lawsuit filed by two former employees who allege, among other things, that Agape was putting patients in hospice care early to make more in Medicare payments.

The lawsuit alleges Agape and its care facilities “wrongfully obtained millions of dollars from the United States that they were not entitled to receive,” according to charges by two former Agape employees, Brianna Michaels and Amy Whitesides. Both worked in the company’s hospice programs in the Rock Hill area.

The federal dollars in question come from Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare, the lawsuit alleges. Allegations against Agape include that the company admitted patients to hospice to get extra Medicare federal dollars, when the patients were allegedly not in danger of dying soon and thus not qualified for federal Medicare dollars.
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America’s Exceptional Anticorruption Prosecutors

America’s Exceptional Anticorruption Prosecutors | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
“An Albany Powerhouse on the Edge of a Volcano” ran the front page New York Times headline.
Sheldon Silver, the long-serving Speaker of the New York State assembly, has been charged with a host of counts of corruption charges. Silver, who has occupied his post since 1994, is the third most powerful politician in New York (after the Governor of the state and the Mayor of New York City). He says he is innocent. Preet Bharara (photo), the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, supported by extensive evidence uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) takes a different view.
The charges against Silver, involving at least $4 million, are all too commonplace in local and municipal politics. They include kick-backs from real estate developers seeking special tax relief and pay-offs by law firms to get lucrative cases from government agencies. Taking on a politician as powerful as Silver takes courage, but prosecutor Bhara is following in the footsteps of a host of other courageous U.S. public prosecutors in recent years.
Indeed, it is this tradition that singles out the U.S. from so many other countries. Like other nations use have plenty of corruption in public life. But, unlike so many others, our public prosecutors are fearless and determined to see that those who abuse their public offices for personal gain are brought to justice. The driving motives and approaches of our leading prosecutors were center stage at a seminar I recently attended at Columbia University Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.  Fundamentally, they believe that the very core of what America’s ‘Founding Fathers” sought to ensure is that citizens are served by honest politicians.
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Sheldon Silver's downfall exposes corruption in Albany

Sheldon Silver's downfall exposes corruption in Albany | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Except for the shouting, it’s all over for Sheldon Silver. But just as his arrest on charges of taking $4 million in kickbacks and bribes revealed his alleged scams, the aftermath of his fall is revealing the depths of Albany’s corrupt and cowardly political class.
Since prosecutors filed the charges against Silver, published reports are detailing how he manipulated the courts, the Legislature, not-for-profits and even an innocuous-sounding resolution to enrich himself. The portrait that emerges is that of a boss of a Mafia-like gang.
Think of it as La Cosa Nostra’s government family.
A capital veteran describes a telling dimension of Silver’s destructive stranglehold on government. The story begins in 2003, when Silver’s chief counsel was charged with rape and marched out of Assembly offices in handcuffs. Although District Attorney Paul Clyne was a fellow Democrat, Silver was furious at being embarrassed.
“He was fuming,” the Albany vet says, “and swore he would get a DA in there he could control and who would never embarrass him.”
Silver found his candidate for the 2004 election, little-known lawyer David Soares, and engineered the support of the upstart Working Families Party, a union front which went to work for Soares.
Against heavy odds, Soares upset Clyne in the primary and triumphed again in the general election. To this day, Soares remains the Albany DA, yet never finds anything amiss in the Legislature.
Like Sgt. Schultz in “Hogan’s Heroes,” Soares knows nothing.
Sadly, he has plenty of company. A line of federal prosecutors in the Northern District, which covers the capital, avoids political cases like the plague, as do the five DAs in the city.
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Corruption Currents: Former Panama President Can Be Tried for Corruption

Corruption Currents: Former Panama President Can Be Tried for Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Jury deliberations have begun in the bribery case of former New York State Sen. Malcolm Smith. (NY1)

South Korean prosecutors investigated Bombardier Transportation following allegations the company paid bribes to win a rail contract, but decided not to levy charges. The company denied all wrongdoing. (CBC)

Two contractors for the Detroit Public Library were sentenced to 27 months and 28 months in prison, respectively, for bribing a public official. (Detroit News)

A lawmaker in Korea was sentenced to five years in prison for taking bribes from a railway contractor. (Korea Herald)
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Panama to launch corruption inquiry into former president

Panama to launch corruption inquiry into former president | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Panama’s supreme court has voted to launch a corruption investigation against former president Ricardo Martinelli, a move likely to rally popular support in a nation where the political elite rarely face justice for misdeeds.

A statement from the court said all nine judges voted to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Martinelli over allegations that he inflated contracts worth $45m (£30m) to purchase dehydrated food for a government social programme.

The accusation is based on the testimony of a political ally, Giacomo Tamburelli, the former head of the National Assistance Programme, who has said he was taking orders from the then-president to inflate contracts. He remains under house arrest.

Martinelli, a billionaire supermarket magnate, has denied the charges and says he is the target of political persecution by his successor, Juan Carlos Varela, who broke with the government in 2011 while serving as Martinelli’s vice-president and foreign minister.

Varela later accused Martinelli and his sons of taking kickbacks from an Italian military contractor and successfully campaigned for the presidency on a pledge to clean up politics.

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China says 15 Communist Party leaders in Tibet guilty of graft

Chinese anti-graft authorities found 15 senior Communist Party officials in Tibet guilty of corruption last year and punished them, the state-owned China News Service said on Tuesday.

China strictly polices dissent in Tibet but it is highly unusual for anti-graft authorities to investigate such matters.

A team from the party investigated officials suspected of joining groups supporting Tibetan independence, providing intelligence to the faction of Tibet's spiritual leader - the Dalai Lama, funding activities that endanger national security and other violations, the report said, citing Wang Gang, secretary general of Tibet's anti-graft authority.

The report did not specify what offences those punished were guilty of, but said they had committed "serious discipline violations", a Communist Party euphemism for corruption.
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InterAmerican Security Watch – Monitoring Threats to Regional Stability » Blog Archive » Diosdado Cabello’s head of security defects to the U.S. and accuses him of narcotrafficking

InterAmerican Security Watch – Monitoring Threats to Regional Stability » Blog Archive » Diosdado Cabello’s head of security defects to the U.S. and accuses him of narcotrafficking | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
With the arrival yesterday in Washington, DC, of protected witness, [Venezuelan Navy] Captain Leamsy Salazar, who until December was the head of security for Diosdado Cabello, a U.S. federal prosecutor has accelerated the preparation of a formal indictment against the number two in the Venezuelan regime.

Salazar is the highest-ranking military officer to break ranks with chavismo and make formal accusations in the United States against senior government officials for their involvement in narcotrafficking.

For almost 10 years, Salazar served as chief of security and as personal assistant to Hugo Chávez. After Chávez’s death, Salazar went on to work for Cabello as his chief of security.

Cartel of the Suns

According to sources close to the investigation, opened by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Salazar claims that [Cabello], the president of the National Assembly, is the head of the Cártel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns) and therefore the leader of the narcostate that Venezuela became under Chávez.

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.

As an aide who constantly accompanied Cabello, Salazar witnessed events and conversations that incriminate the National Assembly president. Specifically, he saw Cabello giving direct orders for the departure of boats loaded with tons of cocaine; he has also provided photographs of places where mountains of dollars (sic) from narcotrafficking are stored, according to sources close to the investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

On December 11, 2014, a shipment loaded with $10 million in cash was detained at Puerto Cabello, which is Venezuela’s most important seaport. The shipment came from the United States and it is speculated that it could be a payment for drugs. A mistake within the organization probably led to its discovery and confiscation.

Days later, in his weekly television program, rather than fueling suspicions that the money was related to drugs, Diosdado Cabello specifically accused the political opposition of being the recipient of this money, although he failed to provide any evidence.
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Corruption is Worth $3 Trillion – and Growing | Steve Almond | LinkedIn

Corruption is Worth $3 Trillion – and Growing | Steve Almond | LinkedIn | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
In the fight against corruption, business and governments should be on the same side.

If corruption were an industry it would be the world’s third largest, accounting for around five percent of Global GDP. Corruption is a corrosive evil; it’s bad for business, bad for government, and very bad indeed for society as a whole. It’s also a topic that attracted quite a bit of attention at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

For companies, tackling corruption adds significant costs in areas like enhancing systems and controls, recruiting staff with subject matter expertise and training others. It also presents a major risk to a company’s single most important asset – its brand.

For governments, corruption has a massively negative impact on investment in key areas like infrastructure, healthcare and education, all of which are drivers of social progress, unlike corruption which drives inequality and associated social unrest.

Most governments depend on business to implement their key investment programmes. However in markets where corruption is rife companies are increasingly likely to reduce their investments, preferring to look elsewhere to grow their business and create jobs. Worse still businesses may withdraw entirely from markets where they believe the risk of sanctions or reputation damage exceeds potential economic benefits.

So business and governments need to get on the same side in the fight against corruption and be very vocal about it.
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The rise of 'scam PACs'

The rise of 'scam PACs' | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
a phenomenon that watchdogs say is threatening the integrity of the campaign funding system, and that conservative leaders worry could seriously undermine their interests headed into 2016. Since the tea party burst onto the political landscape in 2009, the conservative movement has been plagued by an explosion of PACs that critics say exist mostly to pad the pockets of the consultants who run them. Combining sophisticated targeting techniques with fundraising appeals that resonate deeply among grass-roots activists, they collect large piles of small checks that, taken together, add up to enough money to potentially sway a Senate race. But the PACs plow most of their cash back into payments to consulting firms for additional fundraising efforts.

A POLITICO analysis of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission covering the 2014 cycle found that 33 PACs that court small donors with tea party-oriented email and direct-mail appeals raised $43 million — 74 percent of which came from small donors. The PACs spent only $3 million on ads and contributions to boost the long-shot candidates often touted in the appeals, compared to $39.5 million on operating expenses, including $6 million to firms owned or managed by the operatives who run the PACs. POLITICO’s list is not all-inclusive, and some conservatives fret that it’s almost impossible to identify all the groups that are out there, let alone to rein them in.

“These groups have the pulse of the crowd, and they recognize that they can make a profit off the angst of the conservative base voters who are looking for outsiders,”
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Future of Law and Justice - Government 2020

Future of Law and Justice - Government 2020 | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
As crime becomes more high-tech in 2020, so does policing: drones act as eyes in the sky, while crime-prevention officers on the ground use wearable computing, facial-recognition and predictive video to fight crime and protect public safety.
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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Must Answer for a Culture of Corruption

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Must Answer for a Culture of Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Three weeks after the Moreland Commission—which Governor Cuomo founded in 2013—was due to release its report on public corruption in New York State, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested by federal authorities on charges of taking millions in bribes and kickbacks.

What happened?

Andrew Cuomo abruptly shuttered the Commission in March 2014, later claiming that its work of rooting out corruption in New York State politics was a “phenomenal success.”

Reports later showed that the Governor’s office, including his top aides, interfered in the Commission’s work, requesting that subpoenas served against groups with ties to Cuomo be pulled back.

The federal charges against Sheldon Silver detail how the Moreland Commission attempted to subpoena information from the Speaker regarding his outside income.

Instead, Silver used the resources of the Assembly to fight the subpoenas at taxpayers’ expense.

Sheldon Silver will have to answer the particular charges of corruption he is facing. But as the Governor who promised to root out corruption, Andrew Cuomo has to answer for a culture of secrecy and corruption, an Old Boys Network that has gotten worse, not better, since he took office.

After Andrew Cuomo unceremoniously shuttered the Commission, the subpoenas were withdrawn—until U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara’s office incorporated the work into its own investigation, resulting in charges of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.”

The allegations represent a massive breach of the public trust, and Sheldon Silver should step down as Speaker of the Assembly; the charges impair his ability to claim a leadership role. Mr. Silver should also immediately and publicly answer all questions about the charges.

But beyond just holding Sheldon Silver accountable, we need real leadership in New York to stand up against corruption on all levels.

If Governor Cuomo had allowed the Moreland Commission to fulfill its mission without interfering in its operations, these charges might have been brought earlier, perhaps before the November 2014 elections, and without requiring federal authorities to step in.

When he ran for office in 2010, Andrew Cuomo promised to clean up Albany.

Five years later, just one day after delivering the first State of the State speech of his second term—in which he gave only a passing mention of public corruption—a man who was featured prominently in the governor’s address was arrested on federal charges.
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