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Chiropractor faces IRS bribe charge

Chiropractor faces IRS bribe charge | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

A 55-year-old Lowell chiropractor was arrested Thursday on a charge of bribing an IRS auditor to ignore two improper deductions -- payoffs to two women he inappropriately touched during medical appointments -- on his 2011 income-tax form.

A probable-cause hearing is scheduled for March 5 in U.S. District Court, according to U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Stephen D. Jacobs, of Lowell, is charged with bribery of a public official. The complaint alleges Jacobs paid an auditor $5,000 in cash to ignore the deductions, which were in fact payments Jacobs made to two different women because he touched them inappropriately during medical treatments in 2011 and 2012.

Jacobs could not be reached for comment at his Lowell office, his cellphone or via email.

According to court documents, an IRS agent was assigned to examine Jacob's federal income-tax form for 2011. The agent reviewed a number of issues, including Jacob's student-loan expenses, business expenses, gross receipts, bank statements and other expenses.

Before their initial meeting, Jacobs allegedly called the agent to confirm the appointment. During the conversation, Jacobs inquired whether the agent had the authority to handle issues on his own.

During the Aug. 6 meeting at Jacobs' office at 16 Pine St., Lowell, several expenses were questioned. Jacobs allegedly admitted he made $5,000 in payments to two different women because he touched them inappropriately during medical-treatment sessions in 2011 and 2012, according to court documents.

When the agent disallowed the expenses, Jacobs allegedly became agitated and asked the agent, in essence, if there were anything he could do for him.

Jacobs allegedly asked, "... you are on the front line, can't we just deal with this...''

On Aug. 13, the agent made a recorded call to Jacobs, advising him they could deal with the $5,000 payments to the women at their next meeting.

During a Sept. 25 meeting, Jacobs was told the $5,000 in payments to the women were disallowed expenses. When the agent then requested other documentation for other personal and motor-vehicle expenses, Jacobs became upset, saying, "...do you want a bribe. Do you want me to pay you..."

The agent acknowledged he was willing to accept cash to terminate the examination. Jacobs allegedly offered the agent $5,000 to end the examination. They agreed to meet later that day to complete the transaction.

Later that day, at a meeting telectronically recorded by video and audio, Jacob allegedly paid the agent $5,000 in cash and the agent handed over a "no-change" audit letter.

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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

*** 10 members of Congress took trip secretly funded by foreign government

*** CORRUPTION AND THE NEW UK GOVERNMENT

*** Guatemala wiretaps lead to fraud, bribery allegations that touch highest levels of government

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PHILIPPINES: Ombudsman sacks Purisima, 10 others from PNP

PHILIPPINES: Ombudsman sacks Purisima, 10 others from PNP | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
In an unprecedented move, the Ombudsman on Tuesday, June 30, ordered the dismissal of two police generals with close ties to President Benigno Aquino III for an allegedly dubious deal in the Philippine National Police Civil Security Group (CSG) and the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO).

Police Director General Alan Purisima, resigned chief of the PNP, and Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, former police chief of Central Luzon, were ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman.

Purisima and Petrasanta served as aides of the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of President Aquino.

The dismissal of Purisima, Petrasanta, and the other officials was based on two separate complaints filed in 2014 by Glenn Gerard Ricafranca and the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices' Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau over a deal inked between the PNP FEO and Werfast, a courier company tapped to deliver firearms licenses cards.

According to the Ombudsman, the officers in the case will also be forfeited of their retirement benefits, barred from taking civil service examinations, and forever barred from being employed by the government.

The police officials and representatives of Werfast may also be charged criminaly for violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act pending preliminary investigation, the Ombudsman said.
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Corruption Currents: Trinidad Receives Extradition Papers for Jack Warner

Corruption Currents: Trinidad Receives Extradition Papers for Jack Warner | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Bribery:

Trinidad & Tobago received extradition papers from the U.S. seeking Jack Warner, who was indicted in the FIFA investigation. He has denied the allegations. (Trinidad Express)

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says his resignation was “liberating,” telling a Swiss newspaper he won’t stand in an election next year. The head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee told Mr. Blatter to confirm his exit. Meanwhile, the scandal will be made into a movie. (AP, Reuters, AP, Hollywood Reporter)

South America’s soccer federation might try to annul its contract with a marketing firm charged in the FIFA probe, its treasurer said. Meanwhile, the federation faces a cash crisis due to the graft investigation. (Reuters, ESPNFC)

Adidas said it won’t change its FIFA sponsorship deal over the next few years. (Reuters)

Argentina’s FIFA-linked probe continues. (Reuters)

A suspect in the Petrobras scPETR4.BR -3.83%andal told investigators he used proceeds from the scheme to donate to political campaigns. (EFE)

Papua New Guinea wants Australia’s help with investigating bribery allegations. (AAP)

A cloud hangs over an Indian anti-graft body facing allegations of its own. (Firstpost, Times of India)

In local politics: New documents were filed in the case against a California lawmaker. Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff pleaded not guilty to public corruption charges. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an Arizona congressman’s appeal against his conviction. Indian authorities told a finance minister there wasn’t evidence to prosecute him in a bribery case. A former Kentucky state lawmaker was convicted on a bribery charge. (SF Weekly, Deseret News, Reuters, The Hindu, press release)

The FCPAProfessor answers some questions about the FCPA landscape. Tom Fox talks about the compliance defense. Mike Volkov goes back to the Petrobras scandal for updates. Richard Bistrong describes how corruption can become normal. The FCPA Blog details a U.K. move on beneficial ownership.
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Lack of funding for State Ethics Commission invites corruption, experts worry

Lack of funding for State Ethics Commission invites corruption, experts worry | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Behind the 1960s-era frosted glass doors of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, several offices where dogged investigators once spent their days sniffing out governmental corruption are empty.

Abandoned cubicles are graveyards for boxes of old documents and unused office furniture.

For Rob Caruso, the commission's executive director, it's a grim reminder of all that is lost at the agency with the gargantuan mission of enforcing ethics rules for public officials, from executive branch employees and state lawmakers to members of school boards and borough councils.

Caruso's staff stands at 17, down 30 percent from the 24 who once worked there.

The commission's funding topped 2009 levels for the first time this year at just more than $2 million.

But this year's $222,000 increase went to the bare essentials: upgrading outdated computers and software and hiring one investigator, the first hire in six years, Caruso said. The commission has six investigators and a director of investigations to handle complaints from around the state.

With the legislature's June 30 deadline for passing a 2015-16 budget looming, Caruso doesn't know what's in the offing for his agency.

But he knows that with its funding and staffing levels, the commission can't fully investigate all of the 400 to 500 sworn complaints filed each year.
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An Unprecedented Uprising Against Impunity in Guatemala

An Unprecedented Uprising Against Impunity in Guatemala | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A massive tax fraud scheme exposed in Guatemala this April might once have been viewed as business as usual in a country that has struggled with corruption at the highest levels for decades.

Instead, Guatemalans got angry.

A protest organized via social media quickly erupted, sparking an ongoing wave of demonstrations that's drawn the participation of tens of thousands. For the first time in Guatemala's recent history, a broad cross section of society - including politicians, students from both private and public universities, the country's powerful business lobby, indigenous peoples, and members of a historically passive middle class - joined together in a unified call for the removal of corrupt officials.

Vice President Roxana Baldetti was the first to step down, handing in her resignation on May 8. Although she wasn't implicated in the initial corruption investigation, she was plunged into controversy when her private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón Rojas, was identified as the leader of the fraud ring. Shortly after her resignation, Baldetti was also placed under investigation.

As investigations continue, high-level officials in a number of major executive branch offices have resigned or been fired. President Otto Pérez Molina has dismissed or asked for resignations from his chief of intelligence, the ministers of the environment and of energy and mines, and his interior minister, among others. Many of the ousted officials are members of Pérez Molina's inner circle and are under investigation for various acts of alleged corruption.

These ministry shake-ups have not been enough to quell calls for the president's resignation, and weekly protests continue to fill Guatemala City's central plaza. With the curtain pulled back to expose what many have called one of the most corrupt administrations in Guatemala's history, the country is facing its biggest political crisis in years - and just a few months before September's general elections.

On June 10, Guatemala's Supreme Court accepted a petition to allow congress to decide whether to revoke President Pérez Molina's immunity from prosecution for possible involvement in acts of corruption. Whatever the president's fate, sustained public outrage has united a diverse Guatemalan public and represents an incredible opportunity for the country to undergo historic and positive changes.
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The dangerous whistleblowing websites of the U.S. government

The dangerous whistleblowing websites of the U.S. government | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
First developed in 2012, SecureDrop is “state of the art in supporting whistleblowers technically,” Hall says, “and the whistleblower doesn’t have to have a lot of technical expertise.”

SecureDrop directs a whistleblower to an anonymous website on the Tor network, thereby protecting not only their Web traffic from hackers but also securing their identity from eavesdroppers. From there, a whistleblower can upload documents. The documents are then transported to a secure viewing station from which any investigations can begin.

“The reason why this is desirable over simple HTTPS is, if you’re using [Tor], it protects your anonymity,” Budington, who worked on SecureDrop, says. “HTTPS is great for encryption; but with Tor, you want to make sure your anonymity is preserved. Sometimes you’re leaking documents that may risk your livelihood, your job, your loved ones even. People want assurances. They want to do the right thing, but they want to be protected.”


“Sometimes you’re leaking documents that may risk your livelihood, your job, your loved ones.”
SecureDrop minimizes the collection of metadata, doesn’t collect the logs that can identify nearly everything about a whistleblower’s computer, and encrypts whistleblower messages and data on multiple layers (transport and object) to provide improved security.

SecureDrop is already widely used in newsrooms at major publications, like the Washington Post, Forbes, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and more.

“Even naive whistleblowers will cover their tracks [with SecureDrop,” Hall says.

SecureDrop isn’t as easy as dropping an insecure form or simply pasting an email address. “You have to think about it as a practice,” Hall says. “There have to be people to maintain it and care about securing whistleblowers. Like any software, there will be vulnerabilities, and you have to have maintainers keep up security.”

SecureDrop is open source, so anyone can look at and play with all the code to find weaknesses in the system. If a government agency wished, it could write a custom version tailored to their own needs.

Whether or not a government agency will use their own version of SecureDrop remains to be seen. What is clear is that the status quo is dangerously insecure in many instances, warranting a new look at the way whistleblowing works. 
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Albania makes headway in the battle against corruption

Albania makes headway in the battle against corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
In Albania, corruption has long been part of everyday life. People talk of taking a loved one to hospital and having to pay the doctor to get the best treatment, or of going to a property registration office and being asked to pay an extra “fee” to speed things up.

This culture of bribery has not only kept society’s most vulnerable from accessing vital services but has also damaged Albania’s international image. In a 2011 study, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said Albanian citizens ranked corruption as the second most important problem after unemployment.

Since emerging from the decades-long dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, who turned Albania into one of the world’s most isolated states, the Balkan country of 2.8 million people has struggled to deal with corruption and organised crime.

When he took office in 2013, Prime Minister Edi Rama, the one-time flamboyant mayor who oversaw the repainting of Tirana’s communist-era grey buildings, made it a priority to tackle corruption and improve Albania’s international standing.

The centre-left coalition government’s reforms have focused on improving administrative systems, enforcing the rule of law, and making it easier for people to report corruption.

Last February, the government launched an online anti-corruption portal to allow citizens to anonymously record instances of unscrupulous practices. The website covers 12 key areas, including police, health and customs.
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China reveals misuse of $2.7 billion in lottery funds

China has uncovered widespread misappropriation of 16.9 billion yuan ($2.72 billion) of funds from its state lottery programme, underscoring the extent of official corruption as the country tries to root out graft.

Funds were misappropriated through the buying and building of office buildings and hotels or embezzled, the National Audit Office said in a report on its website.

The state auditor said the irregularities accounted for a quarter of the total of lottery funds received in its 2012-2014 investigation that spanned 18 provinces.

It said 17 provinces had flouted the law in engaging in lottery sales through the Internet without approval from the Ministry of Finance.

In another case, 32 lottery shops had used 3.1 billion yuan to construct office buildings, training centres and hotels, the report said.

Spurred by rising disposable income, a strong appetite for gambling and more sophisticated games, China's lottery market has boomed with customers splurging billions of dollars. China is expected to overtake the United States as the world's biggest lottery market this year.

The government has so far contained casino gambling to Macau, in part because of social concerns. Experts say officials consider the lottery system more sanitised, with fewer negative effects on citizens.

The review comes as President Xi Jinping's government has waged a fight against corruption, warning that the problem is so bad it could affect the Communist Party's grip on power.

Lottery products are typically sold through authorised stations throughout the country in the form of physical tickets. These range from dedicated lottery stores to counters in supermarkets, post offices and gas stations.
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PERU: Y por la plata, por Patricia del Río

PERU: Y por la plata, por Patricia del Río | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Y como no podía ser de otra manera la presidenta del Congreso, la señora Ana María Solórzano, despidió su gestión con un escandalete: con plata de todos los peruanos, se gastó 335 mil soles (la friolera de 100 mil dólares) en billeteras de marca para regalarles a todos los que trabajan en el Parlamento.

“¿Está mal que los trabajadores de limpieza reciban el mismo regalo que los congresistas?”, se preguntan sus defensores; y la sola pregunta da cuenta de lo lejos que estamos de comprender que el Estado no es un botín que cada uno saquea a su gusto para quedar bien con los demás. Por supuesto que no tiene nada de malo que los trabajadores de limpieza reciban los mismos regalos que los congresistas, así debiera ser siempre. Es más, bien harían los legisladores en rechazar sus regalos para que la bolsa que se gasta en el personal que menos gana sea más grande. Lo que está pésimo es que, en un país con tantas carencias, reine nuevamente la frivolidad y el despilfarro. ¿Les preguntó la señora Solórzano a esos trabajadores de limpieza, que hizo sentar en la conferencia de prensa respaldando su decisión, si querían billeteras de cuero? ¿Se puso a pensar por un momento que tal vez ese dinero podía gastarlo mejor y de manera más provechosa? 

El asunto parece menor pero no lo es; va de la mano con muchos otros comportamientos del sector público que significan gastos superfluos para un país al que no le sobra la plata: por ejemplo, a fin de año cada oficina del Estado, por más insignificante que sea, suele enviarnos unas memorias de gestión en papel a todo color y llenas de fotos de sus funcionarios que, por supuesto, nadie lee. ¿Por qué ese tipo de publicaciones no se hacen online o se reparten en formato digital y así nos ahorramos mucha plata y muchos árboles? El programa Juntos, por ejemplo, mandó hace unos meses una bella publicación en formato libro de lujo con las fotos y testimonios de sus beneficiarios. Lindo todo, pero ¿no hubiera sido mejor invertir ese dinero en supervisar que los cajeros del Banco de la Nación no se roben el dinero de los ancianos?

Seguro que no se trata de montos millonarios, pero ese no es el punto. En el Estado cada sol mal gastado vale millones porque es un sol que no se invierte en salud ni en educación ni en infraestructura. Por eso, cada vez que llega un funcionario a los sets de RPP seguido de personal de prensa, asistentes, fotógrafo, camarógrafo y miembros de seguridad (a veces no hay espacio ni para caminar), uno se pregunta: ¿por qué con nuestra plata? ¿No viaja acaso el primer ministro inglés solo y de pie en el metro como cualquier ciudadano común y corriente?
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The perils of corruption in Afghanistan

The perils of corruption in Afghanistan | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Throughout the past 13 years, high levels of corruption and bad governance have seriously thwarted the international community's efforts to stabilise Afghanistan. Millions of dollars that were allocated for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan were misused or wasted.
One particularly disheartening instance was the disappearance of $1bn in the 2010 Kabul Bank scandal, in which a cohort of unscrupulous businessmen and politicians carried out a Ponzi scheme in the largest private Afghan bank.
Many Afghans have accused former President Hamid Karzai of facilitating the emergence of an economic system based on mafia structure and patronage.
In addition to the growing security and economic challenges arising from NATO's drawdown and declining international financial assistance, the government must grapple with a myriad of other problems inherited from its predecessor's legacy of corruption and bad governance.
Regrettably, corruption is no longer considered taboo in Afghan society; it has been ingrained in the culture as an accepted norm.
 
At present, the government is preoccupied with the country's worsening security situation, economic recession, and peace talks with insurgents, which have all but monopolised the its attention for the past several months. Nevertheless, the leadership must not lose sight of other important issues like systemic governmental failures and corruption.
Now that its coffers are empty, the government is greatly dependent on contributions from the international community. However, international financial assistance is contingent upon fulfilment of the pledges made by the previous government during the Tokyo conference of 2012. The Afghan government committed itself to enacting and enforcing a legal framework for fighting corruption.
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Corruption Currents: SEC Pursues Hackers Stealing Corporate Emails

Corruption Currents: SEC Pursues Hackers Stealing Corporate Emails | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Money Laundering:

Argentine lawmakers investigating tax evasion allegedly abetted by HSBC Holdings HSBA.LN -0.04% PLC are in Paris. The bank has rejected the allegations. (Merco Press)

Bermuda attacked a tax haven blacklist from Brussels. (Financial Times)

Cayman regulators face a backlog. (Cayman Compass)

Sanctions:

Russia and Greece are considering a collaboration to evade Western sanctions. (LA Times)

Switzerland dropped a case against some assets linked to ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. (AP)

The U.S. said Sudan cooperates on terrorism cases, but it maintained the listing that Sudan is a state sponsor of terrorism. (Sudan Tribune)

Negotiators are willing to break through the June 30 deadline to achieve a nuclear deal between Iran and global powers. (WSJ, Guardian)

The son of a man recently hit with U.S. sanctions took over his chairmanship at a Lebanese bank. (Daily Star)

Will Iran-related SEC filings create a stumbling block in the nuclear talks? (Sanction Law)

Terrorism Finance:

A top U.S. Treasury official said Lebanese banks were the most prudent in the Arab world in applying all international measures to combat money laundering and terrorism funding. (Daily Star)

Islamic State issued its own currency. (Duhaime’s AML)

Whistleblowers:

Morocco launched a national hotline for reporting corruption. (Morocco World News)

General Anti-Corruption:

Talks about reopening a corruption probe in Turkey are taking on speed, as civil society groups join in the chorus. (Today’s Zaman, Today’s Zaman)

Two brothers in Hong Kong were arrested over allegations relating to financial crimes over the course of a decade. They didn’t appear to be contacted. (WantChina Times)

The Iranian justice minister explained delays in a corruption investigation. (Al Monitor)

Kuwait dissolved an anti-graft group. (HRW)

South Sudan’s opposition leader doubts the government’s anti-graft crusade; the country is mired in a civil war. (Sudan Tribune, NY Times)

Big battles await the new Nigerian leader as he tackles corruption. (VOA)

Israeli ministers rejected an anti-corruption law. (Haaretz)
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Fraud Still Plagues Medicare's Prescription Drug Program

Fraud Still Plagues Medicare's Prescription Drug Program | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Fraud and abuse continue to dog Medicare's popular prescription drug program, despite a bevy of initiatives launched to prevent them, according to two new reports by the inspector general of Health and Human Services.

Their release follows the arrests of 44 pharmacy owners, doctors and others, who last week were accused of bilking the program, known as Part D.

The two reports issued Tuesday provide more insight into the extent of the fraud, as well as steps federal regulators should take to stop it. The first report, which covers data from last year, found:

More than 1,400 pharmacies had questionable billing practices last year in the drug program. Some billed for extremely high numbers of prescriptions per patient and others billed for a high proportion of narcotic controlled substances. Collectively, they billed Part D $2.3 billion in 2014.
Prescriptions for commonly abused opioids continue to rise, despite warnings about inappropriate use. Between 2006 and 2014, Medicare's spending on them grew to $3.9 billion from $1.5 billion, a 156 percent increase. By comparison, spending for all drugs in the program, including expensive specialty medications, grew by 136 percent during the same period. More than 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alaska filled at least one prescription for a narcotic in 2014, compared to 32 percent for the nation as a whole.
New York and Los Angeles remain hot spots for questionable prescribing, with far higher use of expensive drugs associated with fraud than other parts of the country. The New York metropolitan area, for instance, accounted for half of all prescriptions for the expensive topical ointment Solaraze last year, a disproportional rate. The drug is used for lesions formed as a result of overexposure to the sun. New York and Los Angeles also stood out for prescribing of two omega-3 fatty acids, used to help reduce very high triglyceride levels. The two regions accounted for nearly half of all prescriptions for Vascepa and about a third of those for Lovaza.
The inspector general's findings come two years after ProPublica reported on how weak oversight by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed abusive prescribing and outright fraud to proliferate in Part D. Medicare promised a more aggressive approach to analyzing its own data.

People can use Prescriber Checkup, a tool created by ProPublica, to look up doctors and see how their prescribing patterns compare to peers in the same specialty and state.

Medicare Part D provides drug coverage for 39 million seniors and disabled people, at a cost of $121 billion in 2014. It is the fastest-growing component of the Medicare program. Part D is administered by health insurers under contract with the federal government, but CMS is responsible for overseeing it.

For years, the inspector general, an internal watchdog that evaluates HHS programs and investigates wrongdoing, has dinged Medicare for its failure to keep a close enough eye on doctors, pharmacies, beneficiaries and even its fraud contractors. That's beginning to change, officials say.
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Amtrak Employees Claimed to Work 40 Hours Per Day

Amtrak Employees Claimed to Work 40 Hours Per Day | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Timesheets for employees of Amtrak are riddled with abuse, according to a recent audit report, with cases of workers claiming over 40 hours of work in a single day.

The audit released by Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) Thursday found examples of abuse in the overtime system, which totaled nearly $200 million in overtime pay last year.

“[Calendar Year] CY 2014 timesheet data revealed trends and patterns that indicate potential fraud, waste, and abuse in the reporting of overtime and regular time,” the audit said. “Some of these trends and patterns may be justified because of the complexity of union agreement rules, the nature of jobs, and the functions employees perform.”

“However, our prior investigative work has shown instances in which employees have fraudulently reported hours not worked,” the OIG said. “We believe that these trends and patterns merit further analysis and, if appropriate, action by management.”

One such trend was employees claiming the impossible feat of working 48 hours in a single day.

“Employees reported 1,357 days in which they worked more than 24 regular and overtime hours,” the OIG said. “Ten employees reported working at least 40 hours in a day.”

Of those 10 employees, a serving attendant in the Café Car, who earns an average of $23 an hour, recorded 47.95 hours in one day, 31.01 of which were recoded as overtime.

Numerous employees also claimed to work 20-hour days. There were 1,891
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Corruption Currents: Russia Vows Response to Canadian Sanctions

Corruption Currents: Russia Vows Response to Canadian Sanctions | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Bribery:

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to seize $300 million claimed to be proceeds of an international bribery conspiracy involving two Russian phone companies. One company said it was cooperating, and the other declined to comment. (Bloomberg)

FIFA President Sepp Blatter won’t attend the Women’s World Cup final, his U.S. lawyer said, while the soccer body faces two criminal investigations. (AFP, BBC)

South American soccer’s governing body may be forced to use a $10 million reserve fund to pay expenses due to a cash-flow problem.  (AP)

A Uruguayan judge seized nine properties belonging to Eugenio Figueredo, a FIFA vice president who faces possible extradition to the U.S. Mr. Figueredo is being held in Zurich; he didn’t appear to be contacted. (Reuters)

The lawyer for a Costa Rican soccer official arrested in Switzerland in the FIFA probe said there’s no evidence his client took bribes, and he called the prosecution “a legal absurdity.” (Reuters)

Do FIFA’s sponsors care about corruption? (Bleacher Report)

An Indian state’s anti-corruption office is under scrutiny for alleged bribery. A special investigative team is probing the case. (New Indian Express, NDTV)

Damage inflicted by Brazil’s widening bribery scandal is leaving deep scars in the country’s overseas bond market. (Bloomberg)

In local politics: A bribery case was opened against a high-level federal tax inspector in Crimea; he didn’t appear to be contacted. A former American Samoa official was sentenced to nearly two years in prison. (Moscow Times)

Cybercrime:

The Office of Personnel Management will next week reveal details on another breach. The agency suspended use of one of its background-check systems because of a vulnerability. (National Journal, Federal Times, Ars Technica)
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China’s Auditor Says State Firms Falsified Revenue and Profit

China’s Auditor Says State Firms Falsified Revenue and Profit | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Some of China’s biggest state firms were found to have falsified revenue and profits, while some state lenders doled out loans to unqualified borrowers, the nation’s auditor said amid an intensifying crackdown on corruption.
Fourteen state-owned companies, including State Grid Corp., Cosco Group and China Southern Power Grid Co., falsified 29.8 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) in revenue and 19.4 billion yuan in profits, the National Audit Office said in a statement on its website Sunday. The office issued its 2014 work report Sunday, along with several statements and audit reports for individual companies.
A key focus of the National Audit Office’s work last year was revealing violations in the approval, allocation and management of public funds, state-owned assets and resources, the office said in the statement. The comments come amid an anti-graft campaign by President Xi Jinping -- who calls corruption a threat to the Communist Party’s survival -- that has snared about 100,000 officials in the past two years.
Inadequate due diligence and violations in decision-making procedures had cost the firms as much as 1.64 billion yuan in wasted resources and 35.4 billion yuan in “losses or idle assets,” the auditor said.
The statement said 4 billion yuan had been recouped from the state-owned companies and more than 250 people had been penalized. The audit office handed over 56 serious cases to “relevant departments,” it said.
Violations also were found in the nation’s financial industry, the audit office said. Some 16.8 billion yuan in loans from Bank of Communications Co., China Development Bank Corp. and China Export & Credit Insurance Corp. were found to have violated rules.
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Tear Gas Used to Attack Guatemala Village: Official Corruption Ransacking Nation's Treasury and Natural Resources,

Tear Gas Used to Attack Guatemala Village: Official Corruption Ransacking Nation's Treasury and Natural Resources, | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Soon after the re-discovery of sources of Mayan jadeite jade, an enterprise to make jade into carved objects and jewelry was begun. Entrepreneurs started to market it successfully. Today there are several jade factories and retail stores headquartered in the old Spanish colonial city of Antigua, a popular tourist attraction.

As it became apparent that another illegal jade strip-mining operation was taking place, not far from legally licensed jade mining concessions, the archaeologists made contact with a former Guerrilla leader Cesar Montes. Their first meeting was held in secret. During this meeting it was revealed that Guatemala’s congressional investigators identified a front company that obtained title to land in the mountains above El Arco. This revelation led to the Vice President of Guatemala Roxana Baldetti.

Montes, a seasoned veteran of many guerrilla wars against dictators and tyranny, was shocked. It finally made sense. If the operation first fronted by named criminals, transferred at gunpoint to a straw man then to a paper company identified as K-Rally, operated in a protected biosphere reserve, it could only operate flagrantly with the ultimate protection of ranking government officials.

While Vice President Baldetti was in South Korea between April 13-16, 2015 with Korean jade operator Cesar Kim and her private secretary Juan Carlos Monzon alias ‘robacaros’ or car thief, she was implicated at home in the theft of millions of dollars from a worthless Israeli backed project to use chemicals to purify water in Lake Amatitlan. The so-called chemicals the Guatemala government paid 137 million Quetzals for, or about $18 million, turned out to be nothing more than salt water.

Another scandal was revealed that involved diversion of millions of dollars from the country’s Treasury Department. Baldetti’s secretary, Monzon, disappeared in Korea and did not return with her to Guatemala when the scandal broke. He is being sought as a fugitive from justice.

Guatemala’s embattled vice president was forced to resign after thousands of protestors demanded an end to government corruption. Protestors likewise demanded the resignation of Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina. Candidates for the next presidential election in September 2015 have also been tainted by scandal.

In the wake of revelations of rampant fraud, Guatemala Cabinet members were forced to resign. A Supreme Court Justice has been implicated, the Guatemala Director of Mines has resigned and arrests of minor and major figures charged with various crimes involving fraud have been made. In one case a fraudulent health care contract resulted in the incompetent care of kidney patients causing the death of thirteen people.
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Gary Hart: America's Principles Are in Danger of Corruption

can anyone seriously doubt that our republic, our government, is corrupt? There have been Teapot Domes and financial scandals of one kind or another throughout our nation’s history. There has never been a time, however, when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals of one kind or another.

What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class.

Worst of all, the army of lobbyists that started relatively small in the mid-twentieth century has now grown to big battalions of law firms and lobbying firms of the right, left, and an amalgam of both. And that gargantuan, if not reptilian, industry now takes on board former members of the House and the Senate and their personal and committee staffs. And they are all getting fabulously rich.

This development in recent years has been so insidious that it now goes without notice. The key word is not quid-pro-quo bribery, the key word is access. In exchange for a few moments of the senator’s time and many more moments of her committee staff’s time, fund-raising events with the promise of tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars are delivered.

Corruption in a federated republic such as ours operates vertically as well as horizontally. Seeing how business is conducted in Washington, it did not take long for governors of both parties across the country to subscribe to the special-interest state. Both the Republican and Democratic governors’ associations formed “social welfare” organizations composed of wealthy interests and corporate executives to raise money for their respective parties in exchange for close, personal access to individual governors, governors who almost surely could render executive decisions favorable to those corporate interests. A series of judicial decisions enabled these “social welfare” groups, supposedly barred from political activity, to channel virtually unlimited amounts of money to governors in exchange for access, the political coin of the realm in the corrupted republic, and to do so out of sight of the American people. Editorially, the New York Times commented that “the stealthy form of political corruption known as ‘dark money’ now fully permeates governor’s offices around the country, allowing corporations to push past legal barriers and gather enormous influence.”

Frustrated, irate discussions of this legalized corruption are met in the Washington media with a shrug. So what? Didn’t we just have dinner with that lobbyist for the banking industry, or the teachers’ union, or the airline industry at that well-known journalist’s house only two nights ago? Fine lady, and she used to be the chairman of one of those powerful committees. I gather she is using her Rolodex rather skillfully on behalf of her new clients. Illegal? Not at all. Just smart . . . and so charming.

There is little wonder that Americans of the right and many in the middle are apoplectic at their government and absolutely, and rightly, convinced that the game of government is rigged in favor of the elite and the powerful. Occupiers see even more wealth rising to the top at the expense of the poor and the middle class. And Tea Partiers believe their tax dollars are going to well-organized welfare parasites and government bureaucrats.
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News - Daily Corruption News: 26 June 2015

News - Daily Corruption News: 26 June 2015 | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Global: Fifa president Sepp Blatter: 'I did not resign' following corruption scandal
International Business Times

Sepp Blatter has fuelled speculation he will not stand down as Fifa president after insisting he has not resigned as head of the footballing body.



MORE NEWS

Albania: Albania makes headway in battle to beat corruption and improve its image
The Guardian

Argentina: Argentina's vice-president to stand trial on bribery and conflict of interests charges
MercoPress

China: China investigates a top sports official over corruption
The New York Times

DR Congo: DRC government compiles corruption list
Voice of America

Egypt: Sisi and his 40 thieves
Foreign Affairs

Paraguay: Paraguay president signs law to repeal CONMEBOL immunity
Associated Press

Turks and Caicos: Former Turks and Caicos premier’s corruption trial to go ahead - without a jury
The Independent



BLOGS AND OPINION

Namibia: Corruption is more than a criminal act
The Namibian
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Argentina's vice-president to stand trial on bribery and conflict of interests charges

Argentina's vice-president to stand trial on bribery and conflict of interests charges | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
On Wednesday the Cassation Court confirmed the indictment issued by Lijo on 27 June 2014 against Boudou, his business associate and friend José María Núñez Carmona and Nicolás Tadeo Ciccone, the former owner of the mint company. The resolution had also been backed by the Federal Criminal Appeals Court on February 19.
However since this is a high voltage political year in Argentina, the case may possibly be delayed until after President Cristina Fernández leaves office next December.
The trial request will have to be backed by federal prosecutor Jorge Di Lello, who charged the vice-president with bribery earlier last year. Boudou and the other defendants will probably file requests to avoid the public trial, which will have to be reviewed by the Appeals Court and the Cassation Court.
Last year, the Appeals Court ordered Judge Lijo to follow the money trail in order to explain which funds were used to purchase Ciccone, a long-term claim by Boudou. The company was bought in 2010 by lawyer Alejandro Vandenbroele, who was also indicted and, according to the magistrate, operated as Boudou’s front man.
The tribunal also recommended Lijo question AFIP tax bureau head Ricardo Echegaray. The AFIP agency helped the company lift its bankruptcy so that it could start to operate again.
However Boudou is likely to stand another trial before. Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío has asked the Federal Oral Court No. 1 to put Boudou on the dock for allegedly counterfeiting the papers of a Honda car he owned. The request was made in December last year.
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, June 26, 1:30 PM

IF ARGENTINA VICE  PRESIDENT IS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST WHY NOT NORTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SCHOOL, WILSON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SOCIA; WORKER TYREE WHITE TO!  I FORGOT SHE IS ABOVE THE LAW! AS OF TODAY 6/26/2015 !

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Corruption Currents: Hackers Stole U.S. Government Workers’ Sex Secrets

Corruption Currents: Hackers Stole U.S. Government Workers’ Sex Secrets | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
2:36 pm ET
Jun 25, 2015 BRIBERY
Corruption Currents: Hackers Stole U.S. Government Workers’ Sex Secrets
ARTICLE
COMMENTS
ALGERIA
ANGOLA
ARGENTINA
AUSTRALIA
CAYMAN
CHINA
CHINA AIRLINES
CONMEBOL
COPA AMERICA
EUROPE
FIFA
INDIA
INDONESIA
INTERNET
IRAN
IRELAND
ISRAEL
MALAYSIA
MALI
MAURITIUS
OPM
PARAGUAY
PITA
QUALCOMM INC.
REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISERS
RUSSIA
SEX
SOUTH KOREA
SYRIA
TURKEY
WORLD CUP
1 6
By SAMUEL RUBENFELD
CONNECT

A chart of data breaches is shown on Capitol Hill on June 16, 2015. Associated Press
A daily roundup of corruption news from across the Web. We also provide a daily roundup of important risk & compliance stories via our daily newsletter, The Morning Risk Report, which readers can sign up for here. Follow us on Twitter at @WSJRisk.

Bribery:

Malaysia said it would investigate bribery allegations against government officials in a property deal in Australia that has rocked the Malaysian government. Australian police raided a home and a business in central Melbourne in the probe. (Reuters, CNA, Sydney Morning Herald, Reuters)

The U.S. bribery probe into soccer led to a problem in paying prize money in the Copa America tournament. CONMEBOL says there’s no problem. (Bloomberg, Reuters)

Argentine businessmen wanted in the U.S. soccer probe were denied their request to fight extradition and were placed under house arrest. (Reuters)

How did China step into the FIFA mess? (Bloomberg)

The brother of a former South Korean president and the ex-chairman of the main opposition party allegedly accepted bribes worth millions of won from a deceased businessman, prosecutors said. They didn’t appear to be contacted. (Korea Herald)

A Qualcomm Inc.QCOM -0.14% investor sued company brass for allegedly allowing bribery of Chinese officials that led to an FCPA case. Representatives for the defendants didn’t respond. (Law360)

Indian companies are reviewing their compliance programs as anti-bribery reforms work their way through government. (Economic Times)

Cybercrime:

The hackers who stole U.S. personnel files got government workers’ sex secrets. How did the hackers tap into the motherlode? A breach helped. The agency chief is fighting for her job. (Daily Beast, Ars Technica, Federal Times, The Hill)

Hackers warned about Internet weaknesses years ago, and were ignored. (Washington Post)

The U.S. extradited a Turkish man to face charges he siphoned $55 million in three attacks. He pleaded not guilty. (Reuters, CNN, AP)

Nearly every major bank is using second-rate security to guard its website. (CNNMoney)

Hackers are stealing data using a gadget that fits inside pita bread. (Wired)

Israel says it can hack into rockets aimed at the country. (Jerusalem Post)

Money Laundering:

Investment advisers are one step closer to being regulated under anti-money laundering law. (Investment News)

India rejected a report saying it’s connected to a Pakistani political party under investigation in the U.K. for money laundering. The party denies the allegations. (PTI, BBC)

Separately, India is petitioning to keep Pakistan on an FATF money-laundering watchlist. (DNA India)

Ireland’s central bank issued money-laundering warnings. (Irish Examiner)

Mauritius signed an agreement to help fight tax evasion. (PTI)

Sanctions:

By giving oil to Syria rather than charging for it, Iran is able to skirt U.S. and EU sanctions. Meanwhile, the U.S. says sanctions have halved Iranian oil exports. (Bloomberg, EIA)

More European oil companies are holding talks in Tehran about potential post-sanctions investments. (Financial Times)

The U.N. threatened sanctions on those violating a truce in Mali. (Reuters)

High-tech collaboration between U.K. universities and China’s aerospace sector is under scrutiny, as the U.S. probes links between Beijing’s biggest military aircraft manufacturer and Iran’s missile program. (Financial Times)

Do Russian businesses like sanctions? (Bloomberg)

General Anti-Corruption:

What are the global implications for Caymans corruption? (Forbes)

The former China Airlines CEO is being investigated as part of a corruption probe. The company said he resigned while on vacation. (Bloomberg)

An Algerian court jailed a businessman for 18 years in one of the nation’s biggest graft cases. (Reuters)

Indonesia’s parliament approved a measure critics say would encourage more corruption. (Reuters)

Corruption is killing Angolan children. (NY Times)

Paraguayan soccer referees were suspended after corruption allegations involving late Argentine soccer godfather Grondona. (AFP)
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Widespread Graft Expanded After Tunisian Revolt, Study Says

Widespread Graft Expanded After Tunisian Revolt, Study Says | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A new research paper by World Bank economists released Thursday shows that companies owned by relatives and close allies of Mr. Ben Ali defrauded the state of $1 billion to $2.6 billion over a seven-year period by avoiding import tariffs. Researchers investigated the dealings of 206 companies between 2002 and 2009.

The findings represent one example of the cronyism that typified Mr. Ben Ali’s 23 years in power and that was one of the main drivers behind the uprising that overthrew him in 2011. Protesters vented their anger against Mr. Ben Ali’s family, and in particular his wife, Leila Trabelsi, a former hairdresser, and her businessmen brothers who had rapidly amassed great wealth.

Photo

Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2010, the year before he was deposed. The World Bank has issued a new study on corruption in Tunisia. Credit Fethi Belaid/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The scale of the corruption remains a concern not only for the money it has cost the Tunisian state, but also for the continuing damage that an unreformed and inequitable system does to the economy and to business in general.

Hundreds of the family’s companies that were confiscated after the revolution are now publicly traded. The family had amassed assets of $13 billion, according to officials in charge of the confiscation.

Tunisia’s anticorruption commissions, who have examined reams of documents impounded in the presidential palace, concluded that the entire system of governance under Mr. Ben Ali was corrupt and referred nearly 400 cases to the courts.

Samir Annabi, who has led the National Anti-Corruption Authority for the past three years, said he was shocked by the extent of the graft and the legal manner in which Mr. Ben Ali had instituted it. “I knew there was corruption, but not how it was in every field, and every part of the country,” he said in a recent interview in Tunis. “The system itself was corrupt, the entire way of governing the country.”
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The Global Implications Of Corruption In The Cayman

Wealth, short of being stuffed under a mattress, never lays idle.

The above is important mainly because it’s a reminder of the importance of countries like the Cayman Islands to the global economy.  Wealth domiciled there doesn’t sit in bank vaults; rather it quickly flows with the click of a mouse all around the world to the commercial concepts seen by professional investors as offering the greatest potential returns. In short, wealth that finds its way to the Caymans funds the aspirations and dreams of entrepreneurs everywhere.

Of equal or greater importance, the existence of locales like the Caymans keeps other governments around the world more honest.  Indeed, so long as the Cayman Islands is seen as a viable way to shield always limited wealth from the capital-destroying hands of politicians, the global economy will be better off.  Forced to compete with the ultimate bidders for capital that are light-tax regimes like the Caymans, politicians necessarily shorten the arms attached to hands that are invariably grabbing the wealth created by others.

All of this bears mention in light of the recent news from the Caymans involving the country’s Premier, Alden McLauglin.  Responding to a June 3 editorialpublished in The Cayman Compass that was critical of his government, McLaughlin raged against what he deemed a “reckless…treasonous attack on the Cayman Islands and on all the people of Cayman.” McLauglin also proceeded to pull all government advertising from the newspaper co-published by David and Vicki Legge. Though initially placed under 24-hour protective guard by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the publishing duo has since fled the island nation to an undisclosed location in the United States.

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New Anti-Corruption Targets in China: People's Daily, and Aerospace

New Anti-Corruption Targets in China: People's Daily, and Aerospace | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Despite speculation in overseas Chinese media and by many commentators that the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption campaign is slowing down, the regime’s disciplinary chief just announced a new round of investigations to target key agents over the next year. Sectors that will be probed include a range of state-run media companies, the aviation and aerospace sector, state-run steel and electricity firms, and the hugely profitable state-affiliated weaponeers.

The news was announced at a meeting of central Party anti-corruption investigators on June 23, by Wang Qishan, the chief of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. He said that there must be “no let up” in “tightening Party discipline,” according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
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Four Prominent Chilean Politicians Are Charged With Tax Fraud

Four Prominent Chilean Politicians Are Charged With Tax Fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Four prominent opposition politicians and members of Chile’s Congress were charged Monday with tax fraud in a high-profile corruption case related to illegal campaign financing.

These are the first politicians to appear before a court as prosecutors unravel a vast system in which the financial holding firm Penta and the mining giant SQM, among other companies, appear to have illegally channeled campaign funds to dozens of candidates across the political divide over the past decade.

Prosecutors accused the four — Senator Iván Moreira; Congressman Felipe de Mussy; Jovino Novoa, a former senator and official in Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship; and Pablo Zalaquett, a former mayor in Santiago — of using trusted individuals and firms as intermediaries to issue false invoices to these companies in order to obtain funds for their campaigns. They are all members of the right-wing opposition party Independent Democratic Union, known as U.D.I.

Judge Juan Carlos Valdés ordered Mr. Zalaquett under partial house arrest during the investigation, and though prosecutors requested house arrest for Mr. Novoa, he was rushed out of the courtroom and into a clinic after a sudden drop in his blood pressure. Judge Valdés will decide the matter on July 6.

Mr. Moreira and Mr. de Mussy have parliamentary immunity, which the Supreme Court may eventually revoke as the investigation continues.

The national prosecutor, Sabas Chahuán, showed evidence Monday that Mr. Novoa had instructed his secretary and the U.D.I.’s former chief of communications to issue false invoices to Penta.

Another prosecutor, Carlos Gajardo, charged that Mr. Zalaquett had had two companies issue false invoices to eight firms to finance his 2013 failed candidacy to the Senate. “They include a variety of companies: from banks to large retail stores, real estate companies, SQM, and smaller companies,” he said. SQM refers to Sociedad Química y Minera, a Chilean chemical company.

A fifth politician, Alberto Cardemil, a former congressman for the rightist party Renovación Nacional who served as undersecretary of the Interior Ministry under General Pinochet, was expected to be charged Monday, but his hearing was postponed so his lawyers could assess new charges filed late last week.
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Corruption Currents: Chinese Hackers Had ‘Administrator Privileges’

Corruption Currents: Chinese Hackers Had ‘Administrator Privileges’ | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Sanctions:

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and entities it controls, will remain under U.S. sanctions even if Tehran reaches a nuclear deal with global powers, a U.S. official said. It comes as the U.S. State Department said that Iran continues to support terrorism. (Bloomberg, Reuters, NY Times)

Lawmakers in Iran passed a bill that could complicate talks on a nuclear deal with global powers. (Guardian, Daily Star)

Hotel companies are eying the Iranian tourism market as a potential deal nears. (Financial Times)

Russia President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is weathering Western sanctions. He denied that Russia’s bid for the 2018 World Cup was tainted by bribery. (Reuters, NY Daily News)

Moscow vowed to keep its anti-Western sanctions in place. (Reuters)

Appeals briefs were filed in the Fokker case. (Sanction Law)

A reminder from the National Bank of Pakistan case: Banks will not be penalized for “innocent slipups” but recklessness or neglect can often come with a price tag. (Sanction Law)

Terrorism Finance:

India isn’t doing enough to fight terrorism financing, the U.S. State Department said in a report. (The Hindu)

General Anti-Corruption:

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay resigned from the cabinet in a break with the president, as he is investigated for corruption. (Reuters)

What’s Ben Lawsky worried about? (Politico)

Canadian banks should welcome bitcoin clients, a senate panel said in a report. (American Banker, Coindesk)

Changing a corrupt culture will take time. (Economist)

Graft stalls Niger’s bid to stop a migrant route to Europe. (Reuters)

Hundreds were arrested in a global crackdown on wildlife trafficking. (AFP)

The U.K. rejects EU plans to fight tax avoidance. Follow the road to a tax haven. (Guardian, Guardian)
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Kuwait: Authorities Dissolve Transparency Society

Kuwaiti authorities should immediately revoke a decree that effectively closed down the Kuwait chapter of Transparency International. The decree is the latest evidence of a government clampdown on peaceful criticism and free speech.

The Social Affairs and Labor Ministry issued a decree on May 7, 2015, that dissolved the board of the independent Kuwaiti Transparency Society (KTS) and put its management under five government appointees. The appointees then terminated staff contracts and began disposing of the organization’s assets, a source close to the group told Human Rights Watch. The government’s action came weeks after members of Kuwait’s national assembly accused the group of exaggerating the level of corruption in Kuwait and pursuing a political agenda, accusations that the group has roundly denied.

“Kuwait has put in question both its willingness to tolerate criticism and its commitment to combat corruption,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “This looks like a classic case of shooting the messenger as a substitute for tackling the real problem.”

The KTS is the Kuwait national chapter of Transparency International, the international anti-corruption group. The Kuwait chapter has existed since 2006, when it was accredited by ministerial decree, with the stated purpose of opposing corruption by promoting transparency and reform. Its bylaws prohibit it from “intervening in politics.”

On February 9, Youssef al-Zalzala, a member of Kuwait’s National Assembly, accused the group in media interviews of pursuing a political agenda. He gave the interviews the day after he and other National Assembly members, including the speaker, Marzouq al-Ghanim, attended a meeting with Mario Marcel, the World Bank’s senior director of governance global practice, and the bank’s country manager for Kuwait. At the meeting, World Bank officials expressed concern about Kuwait’s relatively low ranking in Transparency International’s global Corruption Perception Index, media reported. Al-Zalzala accused the KTS of following a political agenda by filing false reports to lower Kuwait’s ranking and vowed to use all means available to the national assembly to investigate the Kuwait organization.

The group responded at a news conference on March 2 at which Salah al-Gazali, one of its board members, denied that the organization had a political agenda or that it could influence the Transparency International Corruption Index, and said that the group’s information was based on publicly available sources. Afterward, al-Gazali and Salma al-Eissa, another board member, sent tweets accusing National Assembly members of lying during their meeting with World Bank officials and of falsely accusing the Kuwait group of damaging the country’s image.

On March 11, Nabeel al-Fadel, another National Assembly member, accused the Kuwait group of breaching its mandate, which he asserted limited its role to labor issues, by commenting on political issues and insulting the government and the National Assembly and its members.

Five days later, the National Assembly speaker, supported by a group of other members, formally requested a Social Affairs and Labor Ministry investigation of alleged “irregularities” within the Kuwait group. In a speech to the National Assembly on March 25, al-Fadel described the Kuwait group as a “dirty tool in the hands of the Muslim brotherhood” over a media statement in response to a June 2014 leak of documents implicating government officials in large-scale corruption. The statement called for action by “the judicial branch, council of ministers and civil society to do what is necessary to save Kuwait from the increased indicators of corruption.”
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