Global Corruption
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D.C. social services worker admits to scheme to steal $800,00 in Medicaid, food stamps

D.C. social services worker admits to scheme to steal $800,00 in Medicaid, food stamps | Global Corruption |

A former District of Columbia Department of Human Services employee has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal $800,000 in Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits meant for the city’s poorest residents.

Forty-five-year-old Aretha Holland-Jackson, of Bowie, pleaded Friday to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She is facing a likely sentence of between nearly 3 and 3 1/2 years in prison, prosecutors said. Her sister, Allison Holland, 47, of Cheltenham, also pleaded to the conspiracy, and faces more than a year to nearly three years in prison.

Nearly half of the stolen money was supposed to go to the D.C.’s hungriest people. The District of the Columbia has the second-highest rate of families who were hungry over the course of year because they could not afford food, according to D.C. Hunger Solutions.

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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 |

*** 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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Daily Corruption News: 4 May 2015

Daily Corruption News: 4 May 2015 | Global Corruption |
US: Dean Skelos, New York senate leader, and son are arrested on corruption charges
New York Times

Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son were arrested on Monday morning by federal authorities on corruption charges, officials said.


Global: A fight inside Gabon’s kleptocratic dynasty exposes the complicity of French business

Global: US, others investigate Andorra bank
Voice of America

Brazil: Prosecutors in Brazil investigate Lula
Financial Times

Iran: Former deputy's graft sentence casts shadow on Iran's Ahmadinejad

Malta: Malta offers citizenship and all its perks for a price
New York Times


China: Not so far away
The Economist

US: Beyond quid pro quo: What counts as political corruption?
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Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, and Son Are Arrested on Corruption Charges

Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, and Son Are Arrested on Corruption Charges | Global Corruption |

Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son were arrested on Monday morning by federal authorities on extortion, fraud and bribe solicitation charges, expanding the corruption investigation that has already changed the face of Albany.

Mr. Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, 32, surrendered at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office in Lower Manhattan at about 9:30 a.m.

The charges against them were detailed in a six-count criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Manhattan that details a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position by extorting payments through a Long Island-based real estate developer and from an Arizona environmental company, with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.

Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, and His Son Are Said to Face Arrest Next WeekMAY 1, 2015
The investigation, which made use of secretly recorded conversations and wiretaps, revealed how the senator and his son were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.

The case grew out of a broad federal investigation focused on the younger man’s business dealings, some of which were reported last month by The New York Times, including payments to Adam Skelos by an Arizona environmental company, AbTech Industries.

The complaint accused Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, with taking official actions to benefit AbTech and the real estate developer, Glenwood Management, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, which itself had financial ties to AbTech. Senator Skelos agreed to do so, according to the complaint, as long as the companies paid his son. Neither company was named in the complaint.

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What Does Anticorruption have to do with CSR?

What Does Anticorruption have to do with CSR? | Global Corruption |
CSR stands for ‘corporate social responsibility’. The term is bandied around a lot, but involves thinking about the way your business does business, going beyond the idea of compliance and not breaking the law, and considering the spirit of the law, ethical norms, and the consequences of your business activities across all stakeholders. The term is often used interchangeably with sustainability, showing that there is a need for further definition in the field. Sustainability is often associated with environmental ‘green’ initiatives, but is in fact about running your business with a long term view, about protecting the needs of future generations, and about bringing social and governance as well as environmental concerns to the forefront of managing a business.

As a field, CSR and sustainability are still very young, and are often criticized for being vague, and ill-defined. However, we only need to open a newspaper to see that sustainability is the single biggest issue for business leaders today. Whether we are thinking about future business models for the traditional oil and gas industry, human rights abuses in the supply chain, managing the environmental impacts of your business, or providing access to energy and health services for people that have historically lacked both, there is no doubt that sustainability is here to stay. It is the single most effective way to reduce reputational risk, but it also makes employees happier and more productive. There is a growing body of research showing that it improves corporate financial performance over the long term. It also suggests a fundamental transformation of a company’s relationships with all its stakeholders, not just its customers, suppliers and distributors. It is a new model of how business fits into society, and there are strong grounds for thinking that it is a fundamental basis for future commercial success.

Thank you, but where does that intersect with anti-corruption efforts?

AT:  The anti-corruption field is also evolving fast, driven primarily by enormous new media and public interest in issues such as money laundering through property, the theft of state assets by kleptocrats, and offshore ownership structures facilitating organized crime and tax evasion. However, corporate responses to anti-corruption have so far remained overwhelmingly narrow and process-driven. There are entire conferences dedicated to the nuances of niche areas like gifts and entertainment policy and whistleblowing lines. There is a sense in which the legal frameworks for anti-corruption, which have driven an entire industry of compliance program design, are meaning that companies miss the wood for the trees.
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Widespread Nepotism Uncovered at Chinese Telecommunications Firm

Widespread Nepotism Uncovered at Chinese Telecommunications Firm | Global Corruption |
Dozens of staff members at one of China’s largest telecommunications companies had been colluding with their friends and family to run side businesses, profiting off their roles at a state firm, according to the results of a recently completed investigation.

Communist Party investigators set up shop in China Unicom late last year, conducting a swathe of interviews and poring over the company’s books. The move is part of Party leader Xi Jinping’s campaign to gain control and assert discipline over wayward state behemoths that often act as kingdoms unto themselves.

Anti-corruption investigators recently released the results of their work at China Unicom, announcing numbers of those disciplined and enumerating their crimes (or simply “undesirable work styles,” including “formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism,” and “extravagance.”)

In most cases, staff members were simply “held accountable,” in the official parlance; only one person was prosecuted, while only nine were dismissed.

One of the key new measures was to eliminate the collusion between companies run by friends and family of China Unicom staff and the company itself. It appears that contracts were being awarded on familial, rather than meritocratic, considerations. A total of 63 staff members were told their families had to transfer their businesses, while 21 were ordered to shut down, 16 ordered to sell their shares, 8 told to resign, and 85 made to sign a contract terminating the relationship between the companies and China Unicom.
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USA: Dept. of Commerce watchdog spent quarter-million on private law firm

A government watchdog whose alleged misconduct has pushed members of Congress to call for his removal has spent more than $250,000 to hire a private law firm to defend his office against what appears to be a wrongful termination case.

Todd Zinser, the Department of Commerce inspector general, was the subject of a more than two-year bipartisan investigation into allegations that he covered up findings of fraud, hired personal friends and allowed staff in his office to retaliate against whistleblowers.

According to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner, Zinser's office has paid $250,730 to hire Gordon & Rees, a San Francisco-based law firm, to assist with "personnel matters" in the Commerce inspector general office.
The contract with Gordon & Rees was not only to acquire legal support for "a high profile litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board involving a senior staff," but also for "an administrative inquiry involving an employee allegedly intimidating another employee."

A third "employee relations matter" under the firm's purview required Gordon & Rees to help Zinser's office prepare a draft proposal to fire an employee "for performance."

The Commerce inspector general's office signed a $125,365 contract with the firm on Jan. 30, seeking 500 hours of work.

On April 8, the office signed for an additional 500 hours of "employee relations" consulting work at the same price.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, ticked through a litany of ethics violations her staff had uncovered in the extensive probe of Zinser's conduct on the House floor March 26.

Johnson asked the president to remove Zinser in a March 31 letter to the White House.

Since then, Johnson said she has personally spoken with Obama about the inspector general whose conduct she called "indefensible."

"I had a chance to personally mention the Zinser matter to the president recently," Johnson told the Examiner. "He indicated that he is aware of the situation and I anticipate that he will act soon."

The White House has not yet returned a request for comment on the conversation and its intentions for Zinser.

During her floor remarks, Johnson criticized the watchdog for hiring a woman believed to be his girlfriend to a senior position that paid $150,000 in salary and lavishing $28,000 worth of bonuses on her despite her history of "serious conduct problems" at the agency.

"I was unaware at the time that Mr. Zinser was spending $250,000 of public funds for a private law firm to defend him and his office in a current case before the Merit Systems Protection Board that involves his former legal counsel," Johnson said.

"I can understand the potential conflict of having attorneys from the IG's Office of Counsel defend the IG against their former boss. What I can't understand is why Mr. Zinser is not utilizing the services of another IG's office in this regard, as he has done in the past in a previous case against his office by the Office of Special Counsel," Johnson said.

"The IG Act specifically makes reference to utilizing the legal services of another inspector general's office and makes no reference to spending taxpayer money on a private law firm. My understanding is the contract with the private law firm also calls for them to draft a proposal to terminate an OIG employee," she said.

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USA: FDA abused power of federal government to smear whistleblowers and protect corporations

USA: FDA abused power of federal government to smear whistleblowers and protect corporations | Global Corruption |
To be an honest person and also hold a high position within the government is a paradox, especially at the federal level. And if its the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) you're working for from a position of integrity, don't plan on keeping your job for long, as the agency has an extensive history of targeting whistleblowers who object to its institutionalized crime racket.

You either go along to get along or you get axed, as many an FDA scientist has learned the hard way over the years. One of the most recent cases of this was a group of FDA scientists who became targets of illegal agency spying, which ultimately led to their dismissal. What was their "crime"? Learning the truth about dangerous, FDA-approved medical devices and talking about it.

According to a 2012 report in The New York Times (NYT), the FDA tapped both the work and personal email accounts of at least five of its scientists after the agency employees expressed concerns about the safety and design of certain FDA-approved medical devices. In retaliation, the FDA installed spy software on their computers to intercept all emails, documents and even key strokes.

The NYT admitted at the time that the "extraordinary surveillance effort" was a type of revenge by the higher-ups at the FDA against the agency's lower-level scientists, who warned that FDA-approved medical imaging devices for mammograms and colonoscopies "exposed patients to dangerous levels of radiation."

A special review by the Office of Special Counsel, which deals specifically with concerns expressed by government workers, confirmed that these warnings were accurate, which should have prompted a full investigation into what the scientists had deemed "a substantial and specific danger to public safety." Instead, the FDA targeted the scientists simply for doing their jobs with honest intent.
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The Ponzi Scheme Blog: April 2015 Ponzi Scheme Roundup

The Ponzi Scheme Blog: April 2015 Ponzi Scheme Roundup | Global Corruption |
Below is a summary of the activity reported for April 2015. The reported stories reflect: 10 guilty pleas or convictions in pending cases; over 105 years of newly imposed sentences for people involved in Ponzi schemes; at least 11 new Ponzi schemes involving nearly $100 million; and an average age of approximately 49 for the alleged Ponzi schemers. Please feel free to post comments about these or other Ponzi schemes that I may have missed. And please remember that I am just relaying what’s in the news, not writing or verifying it.

    Achieve Community aka TAC was the subject of a cease-and-desist order issued by the Colorado Division of Securities which accused the company and others of running a Ponzi and pyramid scheme. The order apples to Achieve, Achieve International LLC, Work with Troy of Barnes Inc., Troy Barnes, and Kristine “Kristi” Johnson. The company’s website had promised 800% returns based on funds of others who were brought into the scheme. The company did not sell a product.

    Joyce Elaine Allen, 67, was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $20 million in restitution in connection with the Benchmark Capital Investments Ponzi scheme. Allen used her company, J. Allen & Associates, in which she was an accountant. Tiffiny Thompson, 34, pleaded guilty last June and was also sentenced this month to 21 months in prison. The scheme involved 358 victims and about $20 million. Dona Rector and Paulynn Wright were previously sentenced to 2 years of probation and 4 months, respectively.

    William D. “Will” Allen, 36, was charged by the SEC with running a $31.7 million Ponzi scheme through his investment businesses, Capital Financial Partners LLC, Capital Financial Holdings LLC, and Capital Financial Partners Enterprises LLC. Allen was an NFL cornerback, and he played for the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins. Allen started his business to make loans to professional athletes and sold investors on the idea of lending money to professional athletes. Allen and his associate, Susan C. Daub, 54, allegedly raised nearly $32 million from at least 40 investors, but failed to loan all of the money. The SEC has alleged that they made $18 million worth of loans but also took $7 million for themselves. Their website stated that they charged interest rates of 9% to 18% on the loans and that investors could make investments in the minimum amount of $75,000 from which a 3% origination fee would be deducted.
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PERU: Empresarios culpan a burocracia y tramitología por corrupción

PERU:  Empresarios culpan a burocracia y tramitología por corrupción | Global Corruption |
Las cifras sobre corrupción preocupan. Según el reciente Barómetro de las Américas, el Perú registra un índice de percepción de corrupción de 78,2, donde 100 el valor más elevado para este fenómeno.

De acuerdo a la misma investigación, publicada hace apenas dos semanas, un 26% de peruanos dice haber sido víctimas de corrupción en el último año.

La última encuesta de Ipsos elaborada para El Comercio revela que el 52% de peruanos considera a la corrupción como uno de los tres principales problemas del país. De hecho, es considerada por un 48% como la principal razón por la cual desaprueba la gestión del presidente Ollanta Humala.

Hoy, las cabezas de los principales gremios empresariales del país responsabilizaron de la corrupción a “la burocracia y la tramitología”.

El presidente de la Sociedad Nacional de Industrias (SNI), Luis Salazar, sostuvo que la corrupción es el principal problema del Estado, y que la burocracia se ha convertido en un “caldo de cultivo para el pago de coimas”.

También dijo que al interior de la administración pública existe un “sistema mafioso”, pues cuando un empresario denuncia a un funcionario por corrupción, otros “malos funcionarios de esa misma institución castigan” a esa empresa.

Gastón Pacheco, vicepresidente de la Asociación de Exportadores (ADEX), consideró que cambiar el entorno de los negocios para simplificarlos permitirá prevenir la corrupción.

Por su parte, el vicepresidente de la Cámara de Comercio de Lima (CCL), Raúl Barrios, dijo que, de acuerdo a un estudio del Foro Económico Mundial, la corrupción aumenta en 10% los costos para hacer negocios.
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The stuff you learned about government when you were a kid is completely wrong

The stuff you learned about government when you were a kid is completely wrong | Global Corruption |
In the last 5 years alone, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions.

Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment.

It’s a vicious cycle of legalized corruption.
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Corruption Currents: Vancouver Emerges as Money Laundering Hub

Corruption Currents: Vancouver Emerges as Money Laundering Hub | Global Corruption |

India strengthened its anti-corruption statutes, making bribery a “heinous crime” and lengthening prison sentences. Cases, however, need an ombudsman’s approval. The Indian government may expand it to cover companies as well. (India Today, Zee News, Hindustan Times, Business Standard)

As the U.S. tries to extradite a Ukrainian tycoon it charged with FCPA violations, his lawyers are crying foul. (Reuters, NY Times)

Mixed messages on how far to conduct internal FCPA probes are vexing company lawyers. (Law360)

There are some troubling trade-offs to private FCPA actions. (GAB)

A former English soccer star was sentenced to prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery as part of a match-fixing probe. (

In local politics: A New York assemblyman is expected to plead guilty to receiving fraudulent state travel vouchers. (Albany Times-Union)

Tom Fox talks whistleblower protections. The FCPAProfessor teases the PetroTiger trial. Mike Volkov discusses national data-breach standards. The FCPA Blog names whistleblower award recipients and analyzes a U.K. court ruling.

Money Laundering:

Vancouver is “emerging as a critical money laundering hub” for international criminals, due to a convergence of factors, experts say. (The Province)

African countries face challenges with stopping illicit financial flows. (The Africa Report)


Germany’s Angela Merkel says sanctions should remain on Russia until it fulfills an agreement reached in Minsk. Canada isn’t ruling out further measures. (DW, Interfax)

The Sudanese finance minister urged the U.S. to lift sanctions on his country. (Time)

Iran’s foreign minister stressed sanctions relief in a final nuclear deal during a talk in New York. (Bloomberg, Al Monitor)

The U.S. warned India about increasing trade with Iran, saying sanctions haven’t been lifted yet. Could ending sanctions on Iran weaken its revolutionary guard? (IndiaTV, CBS News)
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News - Daily Corruption News: 30 April 2015

News - Daily Corruption News: 30 April 2015 | Global Corruption |
US: Wall Street pushes back on foreign bribery probe
Wall Street Journal

Wall Street banks are embroiled in an intense dispute with the U.S. government over its “aggressive” interpretation of foreign-bribery laws, a flurry of legal wrangling in a probe with broad implications for how corporations do business overseas, according to people familiar with the matter.


Global: Finance: Cash, oil and blood
The Africa Report

Global: A league of his own: How Sepp Blatter controls soccer

Global: EU calls for concrete steps against corruption in Afghanistan

Global: B.C. property developer wanted by Chinese government on corruption charges
Globe and Mail

Angola: Angola activist in fight to highlight alleged corruption
Financial Times

Brazil: Corruption claim hits Rio university
Times Higher Education

Lebanon: Lebanon freezes 13 suspect bank accounts
The Daily Star

Portugal: Portugal investigates corruption, money-laundering in granting of visas to non-EU investors
Associated Press

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka 2015 growth seen at 7 pct amid infrastructure graft probes
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The Dinner Proposal That Led United Into Corruption Probe

The Dinner Proposal That Led United Into Corruption Probe | Global Corruption |
Investigators are looking into whether Samson, 75, a longtime Christie ally who’s retiring from the New Jersey law firm that bears his name, abused his public position for private gain. According to people close to the case, prosecutors want to know if Samson gave United preferential treatment on Port Authority business in return for the flight.
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Central Banks Would Love To Abolish Cash

Central Banks Would Love To Abolish Cash | Global Corruption |
According to lawmakers, these regulations ostensibly ensure that business transactions are properly reported and taxed. They don’t want any potential tax revenue slipping through the cracks. They tell the public that these laws will help to prevent white collar crime, organized crime, and terrorism.

However, the privacy of financial transactions is simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the war on cash. Grabbing more tax revenue may be the reason smaller entities like Louisiana are enacting such laws, but on a grander scale the war on cash leads back to the problems of central banking.

In order to more effectively manipulate the economy, central banks would prefer to not just limit your use of cash, but to abolish it entirely.
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NY Senate leader's son used 'burner' phone in 'bribery scheme'

NY Senate leader's son used 'burner' phone in 'bribery scheme' | Global Corruption |
”By now, two things should be abundantly clear. First, public corruption is a deep-seated problem in New York state. It is a problem in both chambers; it is a problem on both sides of the aisle. And second, we are deadly serious about tackling that problem,” the prosecutor said.
After Silver’s arrest, and with Bharara’s prescient warning to “stay tuned” for further political corruption complaints, the father and son employed overtly evasive tactics to try to prevent federal investigators from listening in on their conversations — even methods used by common drug dealers, the complaint alleges.
“When discussing the scheme, [father and son] used coded language and, in the case of Adam Skelos, used a self-described ‘burner’ phone, in an attempt to limit possible electronic surveillance by law enforcement,” the court papers state.
On Feb. 10, Adam Skelos told his dad that any future chats should be on Apple’s FaceTime, the son explaining to a cooperating witness that it was the best way to communicate “because of what’s going on with my dad because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill.”
But two weeks later, he began using a new cellphone that he variously described as his “safe phone” and “burner phone,” the feds say.
“Adam Skelos instructed [a cooperating witness] to send a coded text to his regular cellphone when it was necessary to speak freely by phone, and that he would then call [that person] on the burner phone,” the complaint charges.
On Feb. 27, during a call recorded by the feds on the “burner phone,” Adam Skelos warned the cooperating witness not to email him details about legislation that the environmental tech company wanted enacted, but rather to deliver the document to him in person at their next meeting, because “it’s just, it’s safer,” the court papers state.
Then on March 25, during an intercepted call with a Senate staff member during which Adam Skelos was allegedly trying to get his dad for an update on budget negotiations, the son complained that it was “f–king frustrating” that he could not speak to his father on the phone and that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon with [a] f–king note [tied] to its foot.”
Three days later, Adam Skelos whined to his dad: “You can’t talk normally because it’s like f–king Preet Bharara is listening to every f–king phone call. It’s just f--king frustrating,” the complaint states.
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New York Senate leader Skelos, son charged with corruption

New York Senate leader Skelos, son charged with corruption | Global Corruption |
Federal authorities charged New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son on Monday with engaging in a corruption scheme, in the latest of a string of criminal cases against politicians in the state's capital of Albany.

Skelos, a 67-year-old Republican, and his 32-year-old son, Adam, were named in a six-count criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that included charges of conspiracy and extortion.

Prosecutors said Skelos pressured a real estate developer and an environmental technology company to pay his son more than $200,000 in exchange for his support on infrastructure and legislation.

The men surrendered to the FBI on Monday morning and were expected to appear in court later in the day. Their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

The case marked another blow to Albany, a capital that in the last decade has seen 22 legislators charged for corruption, according to New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice.

Then-New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was himself was charged with corruption offenses in January, making this the first time leaders of both of New York's legislative chambers were simultaneously facing charges.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Skelos's case showed that "public corruption is a deep-seated problem" in New York.

Monday's complaint built upon evidence secured by authorities through cooperating witnesses, wire taps and search warrants.

According to the complaint, beginning in 2010, Skelos and his son pressured a real estate developer to pay Adam Skelos, a commissioned title insurance salesman, while the company was lobbying for legislation crucial to its business.

Payments included $20,000 disguised as a commission to Adam Skelos, and $4,000 per month from an environmental technology firm tied to the developer seeking to win government-funded contracts, the complaint said.

Campaign finance records indicate the unnamed developer was Glenwood Management. Its lawyer declined to comment.

The complaint's description of the environmental company, meanwhile, matched that of a subsiary of Arizona-based AbTech Holdings Inc (ABHD.PK).

In 2013, AbTech secured a $12 million stormwater systems project with New York's Nassau County.

The complaint said while the contract was under consideration, Skelos and his son threatened to block it unless the payments were increased, resulting in Adam Skelos receiving $10,000 per month.
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US, Others Investigate Andorra Bank

US, Others Investigate Andorra Bank | Global Corruption |
A bank in the tiny European state of Andorra has become the focus of investigations by the United States, Venezuela, and others as a locus of corruption activity. 

Andorra is a tiny speck of a state – only 468 square kilometers – on the eastern border between France and Spain. Because it is independent, Andorra has become a center for financial services. A major bank there stands accused of being deeply mired in multinational corruption.

Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA) has been named as a money laundering operation by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. BPA is also under investigation by other nations for laundering and other illicit activities.

U.S. Treasury said in a March news release that “for several years, high-level managers at BPA have knowingly facilitated transactions on behalf of third-party money launders acting on behalf of transnational criminal organizations.”
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Chinese Anti-Corruption Official Found to Be Corrupt

Chinese Anti-Corruption Official Found to Be Corrupt | Global Corruption |
Cracking down on corruption becomes more complicated when it turns out those doing the cracking down are guilty as well.

On April 1, the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency announced that one of its officers was under investigation for “serious violation of Party discipline and law.”

Zhong Shijian, previously deputy secretary of the Guangdong Province Discipline Inspection Commission, head of the Guangdong Supervision Department, and director of the provincial Corruption Prevention Bureau, had his home searched on March 30, according to a recent report by Sohu, an online Chinese news portal.

During the night, several plainclothes investigators ransacked Zhong’s residence and found over a dozen golden turtle-shaped nuggets each worth tens of thousands of yuan. In traditional Chinese belief, the turtle is a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
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USA: Porn-Watching EPA Employees Earning $120,000 A Year Put on Paid Administrative Leave

USA: Porn-Watching EPA Employees Earning $120,000 A Year Put on Paid Administrative Leave | Global Corruption |
An inspector general (IG) investigation found that employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earning $120,000 a year were watching pornography on the job and were put on paid administrative leave for almost a year before anybody tried to fire them.
“Over the past two years, the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has conducted investigations of multiple cases of serious misconduct carried out by EPA employees,” explained the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a hearing on EPA mismanagement Thursday.

“EPA OIG investigated three instances of EPA employees who were found to be viewing pornography while at work. The U.S. attorney’s office declined prosecution for two cases while the third resulted in a criminal conviction. One of these employees is still on paid administrative leave pending administrative action by the EPA while another has retired.”

“There are continued problems with EPA employees who watch pornography at work,” said Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in his opening remarks. “Even more insulting to taxpayers is that after the inspector general reported these abuses, the porn-watching employees were placed on paid administrative leave for almost a year before anybody even tried to fire them. Now these people were being paid roughly, in the neighborhood of about $120,000 a year.
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New details emerge in probe of alleged Ponzi scheme

New details emerge in probe of alleged Ponzi scheme | Global Corruption |
erating Ponzi-type pyramid schemes alleges there are 450 victims who invested at least $84 million and lost more than $30 million.
The documents, written by an FBI agent and attached to a civil forfeiture complaint of William Apostelos’ assets, provides new details about how the alleged scheme fell apart and says Apostelos and his employees went to extraordinary lengths to avoid angry investors.
The seizures from Apostelos, his wife Connie and her son include two race horses, racing proceeds, bank accounts and cash totalling about $650,000 plus vehicles, jewelry and artwork.
Apostelos faces a forced bankruptcy case, a separate civil case in Dayton’s U.S. District Court and this forfeiture action.
Some of the findings from an updated criminal complaint and affidavit filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court this month include:
Spending reportedly included $400 per month on Victoria Secret’s lingerie and $35,000 per month on Connie Apostelos’ horse racing company.
William Apostelos diverted $17 million into his personal accounts from the proceeds of a Ponzi scheme he allegedly ran out of his office in Springboro.
William and Connie Apostelos, and others listed in the complaint have not been charged with a crime.
When the allegations surfaced in court documents last fall, federal officials said the couple swindled “north of $50 million” from 160 Miami Valley investors in Ponzi-type financial pyramid schemes, using the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle that included buying racehorses and a $1 million farm in Clark County.
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Will Mexico's new anti-corruption law help clean up a scandal-plagued nation?

Will Mexico's new anti-corruption law help clean up a scandal-plagued nation? | Global Corruption |
Mexican lawmakers have approved a new anti-corruption law that some experts think could become a new model for Latin America’s inefficient and ineffective system of appointing czars and creating ad-hoc agencies to deal with endemic graft.

The law comes after a series of alleged corruption scandals rocked President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, further rattling public confidence in government officials. A recent poll by Mexican consulting firms GEA and ISA showed that the perception of government corruption is a growing concern among ordinary Mexicans, with more than 50 percent saying they believe Peña Nieto has failed to do enough to put things in order.

Peña Nieto’s response is now taking shape as an ambitious reform that seeks to strengthen anti-corruption agencies at the federal, state and municipal levels. It will require public officials to identify potential conflicts of interest when they disclose their assets, create a new federal court and other autonomous institutions to investigate public officials, and increase accountability over how public funds are spent.

It’s not exactly sexy stuff, but it could be extremely important to the future of Mexico and the region.

“There hasn’t been a reform like this in 45 years,” said Eduardo Bohorquez, director of Transparency International’s Mexico branch. He thinks the law —a long-term effort that might take years to show results—could become a new model for other Latin American countries to follow.
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First Anti-Corruption Act in US History Passes - YouTube

On Nov. 4th, 2014, voters in Tallahassee, Florida, made history by approving the first city Anti-Corruption Act in the United States by an overwhelming 2 – 1...
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United States: Wall Street Pushes Back on Foreign Bribery Probe | ethiXbase

United States: Wall Street Pushes Back on Foreign Bribery Probe | ethiXbase | Global Corruption |
Wall Street banks are embroiled in an intense dispute with the U.S. government over its “aggressive” interpretation of foreign-bribery laws, a flurry of legal wrangling in a probe with broad implications for how corporations do business overseas, according to people familiar with the matter.

The previously unreported campaign by banks goes to the heart of a wide-ranging inquiry into whether they ran afoul of U.S. antibribery laws by giving jobs to relatives of managers of state-owned companies and other well-connected officials, including the kin of high-ranking Chinese government officials known as “princelings,” allegedly to curry favor in getting deals.

In a series of meetings, calls and letters to regulators and federal prosecutors, banks have accused the government of overreaching by threatening to criminalize standard business practices in some countries, according to people close to the firms. The pushback differs from the normal squabbling over settlement terms, in part because the outcome is likely to set a blueprint for future cases, according to people familiar with the matter.
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You can't ban corruption. Stop trying.

You can't ban corruption. Stop trying. | Global Corruption |
Although laws against flagrant abuse have a clear point, the problem with corruption is that it can't be banned in a free society. It's even harder to crack down on corruption than it is to outlaw alcohol or pornography. Elites hang out with each other. That's what they do. It's what makes them elite.

As much as it galls the rest of us, there's only one surefire way to prevent them from sinking into decadent, dangerous venality. Vote in the incorruptible. And vote out the scoundrels. No matter how good they are at politics. No matter whose team they're on.

No wonder we see corruption everywhere. We despise the idea of bejeweled despots — unless they can flatter our favorite prejudices.
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Chile’s President Vows to Tackle Corruption, Rewrite Constitution

Chile’s President Vows to Tackle Corruption, Rewrite Constitution | Global Corruption |
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has vowed to rewrite Chile’s constitution and tackle corruption following several scandals that have rocked the nation’s political establishment and economic elite.

In a speech late Tuesday, Ms. Bachelet announced a number of anticorruption measures she said were “severe” but necessary to eliminate the influence of money on political parties and campaigns.

“This will be one of the reforms that will mark the legacy of my government, and I’m going to lead it personally,” she said. “We are going to make political financing completely transparent.”

Ms. Bachelet said political-financing rules would be overhauled. She said the state will now provide financing to political parties and closely regulate campaign spending. She said companies will be prohibited from making financial contributions to politicians, and that anonymous donations to political campaigns would be eliminated.

“This is a necessary investment in order to have a better public life and more citizen participation,” Ms. Bachelet said.

The president said the anticorruption measures will be complemented by a new constitution. The government is expected to start work on the new constitution in September, Ms. Bachelet said. The current constitution was implemented during the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
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Trouble in paradise

Trouble in paradise | Global Corruption |
IT IS not certain if or to what extent investors have been bilked, or who has done the bilking. Indeed, it is hard to establish very much at all, given the complexity of the case: authorities in the Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Mauritius are all looking into it and a South African financial regulator is following it closely. Investigations are focused on various entities connected to Belvedere Management, a Mauritius-based group that claims to administer around 100 hedge funds and run several finance-related companies. David Marchant, editor of OffshoreAlert, a newsletter on financial crime, has identified numerous red flags in some of these funds, including several years of consistent, positive monthly returns, which can be a sign of a Ponzi scheme.

Belvedere’s bosses, Cobus Kellerman and David Cosgrove, deny all of the allegations of wrongdoing and criminal activity. Instead, Belvedere has told worried investors that Grant Thornton, an accounting firm, has been called in to wade through the complexities of the funds and “review your assets and to advise us and assist the relevant authorities”.
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