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Africa: America On Corruption - No Visa for Corrupt African Officials

Africa: America On Corruption - No Visa for Corrupt African Officials | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Barely weeks after the United States of America cancelled the visas of three Liberian officials, FrontPageAfrica has gathered as reported by GhanaWeb that corrupt government officials from Ghana and all over Africa will be denied visas into the United States as part of moves by the U.S. to clamp down on corruption in Africa.

  

According to the Ghanaian news outlet, the move, which was initially only applicable to only a number of African countries, will now cover all. Africa has been battling with corruption for decades.

  

The West has been heavily criticised by civil society organizations for not doing enough to help the continent deal with the matter, among others. Most of Africa's corrupt officials spend and stash their booty in the West.

  

Quoting a senior American official, the report states that the Principal Deputy Assistant secretary at the Department of State's bureau of African Affairs for the US, Robert Jackson, told Citi FM's Vivian Kai Mensah that America will not issue visas to government officials in Africa that are corrupt.

  

'We are not giving visas to them anymore.'

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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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The story behind the former top-ranking FIFA executive who reportedly became an FBI informant

The story behind the former top-ranking FIFA executive who reportedly became an FBI informant | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Blazer was "one of the most powerful men in world soccer" before he left FIFA in 2013 amid an ethics investigation, according to SB Nation, which noted that Blazer most likely cooperated with the FBI's FIFA investigation to avoid prison time.

Blazer has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, wire-fraud conspiracy, money-laundering conspiracy, income-tax evasion, and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), according to a US Department of Justice statement released Wednesday. He forfeited nearly $2 million and agreed to pay another undetermined amount when he is sentenced.

It is unclear whether Blazer made a deal with investigators and what his sentence will be.
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Corruption Currents: Americans Find Ways to Cuba Despite Tourism Ban

Corruption Currents: Americans Find Ways to Cuba Despite Tourism Ban | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Bribery:

A U.S. Army sergeant was sentenced to 51 months in prison for accepting bribes from Afghan truck drivers. (press release)

Why did BHP Billiton BLT.LN -2.77% settle an FCPA case involving conduct that’s more than seven years old? (Cady)

A Sun reporter was convicted of bribing for stories. The Sun is owned by News Corp., which publishes this page. (BBC)

Thebriberyact.com races for the first U.K. deferred-prosecution agreement. The FCPAmericas blog provides three practices to prevent procurement fraud. Richard Bistrong confronts his own “perfect storm” and reacts to survey results. The FCPA Blog starts a series on freedom from corruption. The FCPAProfessor interviews an FCPA associate. GAB says the former Virginia governor’s corruption conviction should be affirmed. Mike Volkov reads the tea leaves.

Cybercrime:

Beijing is claiming ethnic bias by the U.S. after it filed cybercrime charges against six professors. (Reuters)

Is the fear of reputation damage tied to leaks overhyped? (Financial Times)

How does the NSA crack secure communications? (Daily Beast)

A contingency plan memo on cybersecurity is here. (CFR)

Money Laundering:

A U.S. criminal investigation into how Swiss banks such as Julius Baer allegedly helped wealthy Americans to hide their money is likely to stretch into next year. (Reuters)

A former Romanian finance minister was charged with money laundering; he didn’t appear to be contacted. (Romania Journal)

Zimbabwe proposed legislation to fight illicit financial flows. (Source)

A federal grand jury is probing a Los Angeles-area casino following allegations by state authorities the business allowed some players to evade transaction reporting requirements and possibly launder money. A  spokeswoman said prosecutors told the casino it was under investigation, but she declined to comment on the grand jury probe. (Reuters)
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InterAmerican Security Watch – Monitoring Threats to Regional Stability » Blog Archive » Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub

InterAmerican Security Watch – Monitoring Threats to Regional Stability » Blog Archive » Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
U.S. prosecutors are investigating several high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including the president of the country’s congress, on suspicion that they have turned the country into a global hub for cocaine trafficking and money laundering, according to more than a dozen people familiar with the probes.

An elite unit of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington and federal prosecutors in New York and Miami are building cases using evidence provided by former cocaine traffickers, informants who were once close to top Venezuelan officials and defectors from the Venezuelan military, these people say.

A leading target, according to a Justice Department official and other American authorities, is National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, considered the country’s second most-powerful man.

“There is extensive evidence to justify that he is one of the heads, if not the head, of the cartel,” said the Justice Department official, speaking of a group of military officers and top officials suspected of being involved in the drug trade. “He certainly is a main target.”

Representatives of Mr. Cabello and other officials didn’t return phone calls and emails requesting comment. In the past, Venezuelan authorities have rejected allegations of high-ranking involvement in the drug trade as an attempt by the U.S. to destabilize the leftist government in Caracas.

In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year. “They accuse me of being a drug trafficker without a single piece of evidence and now I’m the bad guy,” Mr. Cabello said. “I feel offended, and none of them even said they’re sorry.”

The Obama administration isn’t directing or coordinating the investigations, which are being run by federal prosecutors who have wide leeway to target criminal suspects. But if the probes result in publicly disclosed indictments of Mr. Cabello and others, the resulting furor in Venezuela would likely plunge relations between the two countries into their most serious crisis since the late populist Hugo Chávez took office 16 years ago.

“It would be seismic,” said a U.S. official, of the expected Venezuelan reaction. “They will blame a vast right-wing conspiracy.”
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PANAMA: Five former ministers being investigated in helicopter case

PANAMA:  Five former ministers being investigated in helicopter case | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

A report by the comptroller has implicated five former ministers in irregularities connected to the rental of helicopters during the administration of Ricardo Martinelli.

The report also implicates four rental companies. The ministers were not named.

The estimated economic damage to the state is $10 million. That estimate is based on a forensic audit carried out by the comptroller and covers a time frame from 2009 to 2014.

According to the document, the rentals were paid for by the National Assistance Program (PAN). It states that the government paid an average of $3,000 per hour when the market rate was $1,800.

Also, records with the Civil Aviation Authority cast doubt into whether some of the flights actually took place.

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Romanian prosecutor held for bribery

Romanian prosecutor held for bribery | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A spokesman of the Bucharest Court’s Prosecutor’s Office was held by Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) after he was caught in the act taking a EUR 2,000 bribe.

Stefan Crisu, who is a prosecutor himself, asked a defendant to give him EUR 3,000 and a mobile phone to help him with a case, according to judicial sources, cited by local Mediafax.

He was caught in the act while taking the money and was held by DNA.
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AUSTRALIA: Favouritism rife in Queensland property development: researchers

AUSTRALIA: Favouritism rife in Queensland property development: researchers | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Land rezoned in Queensland is dominated by favouritism, not suitability or the public interest, claims a new study by researchers at the University of Queensland.

Cameron Murray and Professor Paul Frijters of the School of Economics looked at the former Urban Land Development Authority that rezoned a number of areas between 2008 and 2010 in south-east Queensland.

They found that the rezoned areas were in different places to those announced in the south-east Queensland regional plans of 2004 and 2005, and for which councils were told to plan, and that the areas were almost exclusively owned by "politically connected property developers".

The study estimates that the developers made $410 million in profits at the expense of the public or other landowners.

"Connected property developers had bought land seven years earlier on average, and then successfully lobbied the politicians and bureaucrats to rezone the areas where they had bought properties, wrong-footing both councils and other property developers in the intervening years," the researchers said in their study, titled Clean Money in a Dirty System: Relationship Networks and Land Rezoning in Queensland.

"Having ties to politicians and bureaucrats involved in property-related decision-making is the main avenue for getting rich in Queensland," the researchers said.
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Shareholder Group Says Ernst & Young Knew About Wal-Mart Mexico Bribery Allegations

Shareholder Group Says Ernst & Young Knew About Wal-Mart Mexico Bribery Allegations | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A small shareholder group says Wal-Mart’s longtime auditor, Ernst & Young, knew about possible bribery in Mexico long before the company disclosed it to U.S. authorities, highlighting a little-plumbed area of U.S. anticorruption law.

CtW Investment Group, which works with union pension funds that hold about 0.15% of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stock, made the claim in a letter last Thursday to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which oversees public companies’ outside accounting firms.

The letter cites an internal Wal-Mart email dated Feb. 27, 2006, that says employees in Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters “briefed Ernst & Young over the past several months,” along with some of the company’s directors, on an internal investigation into the possible bribery. It wasn’t until late 2011 that Wal-Mart disclosed its investigation to the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the company’s securities filings.

CtW said in its letter that Ernst & Young likely should have reported the suspected bribery to the SEC and should be investigated by the accounting oversight board, because the acts under investigation and how the investigation was handled could have affected the retailer’s financial statements.

The challenge raises the question of external auditors’ responsibilities when their clients may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the tough U.S. antibribery law. If an outside auditor discovers a potentially illegal act, it generally is only expected to notify responsible authorities within the company, accounting and legal experts said. But it may be obliged to notify the government if the appropriate steps aren’t being taken and a company’s books may be compromised, they said.

RELATED

CtW Investment Group’s Letter to Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
Internal Wal-Mart email (Feb. 27, 2006)
Ernst & Young, which has been Wal-Mart’s outside accountant for decades, said it couldn’t comment on matters involving its clients. Wal-Mart wouldn’t comment, saying the bribery investigation is ongoing. PCAOB and the SEC also declined to comment.
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PharMerica whistleblower collects $4.3 million 

PharMerica whistleblower collects $4.3 million  | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A pharmacist from Waukesha, Wisconsin who was fired after she told federal authorities her employer might be dispensing dangerous drugs without a doctor's prescription was awarded $4.3 million as part of a False Claims Act settlement.

In 2009, Jennifer Denk first told her bosses at PharMerica the pharmacy was using her license to dispense OxyContin and fentanyl without adequate control. She also believed PharMerica was falsely billing the government for some prescriptions.

When the PharMerica executives didn't take any action, Denk contacted federal authorities.

After federal agents raided PharMerica's Pewaukee, Wisconsin plant, the company fired Denk.

She filed a qui tam complaint under the whislteblower provisions of the False Claims Act. The government intervened and took over the case.

Last week, PharMerica agreed to pay the United States $31.5 million to resolve the lawsuit. Denk's share of the settlement is $4.3 million.

PharMerica allegedly violated the Controlled Substances Act by dispensing Schedule II controlled drugs without a valid prescription and violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to Medicare for improperly dispensed drugs, the Justice Department said.

Under the settlement, the company agreed to pay $8 million to resolve the Controlled Substances Act allegations. And it agreed to pay $23.5 million to resolve its alleged False Claims Act violations.
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Bribery, alleged bribery and settlements - what a couple of weeks

Bribery, alleged bribery and settlements - what a couple of weeks | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
It has been an eventful couple of weeks for bribery prosecutors and enforcement agencies in the UK and the US. Hospitality is in the spotlight.  As are the construction and natural resources sectors.

England

On 11 May 2015, Graham Marchment, a former procurement engineer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2.5 years imprisonment for conspiracy to corrupt. Mr Marchment admitted that between 2004 and 2008, he conspired with others to obtain payments by supplying confidential information in relation to oil and gas engineering projects in Egypt, Russia and Singapore. Marchment worked as a procurement engineer and deliberately leaked confidential information to bidders in exchange for payments disguised as commission.

On 12 May 2015, the SFO brought further corruption charges against a former director of Alstom Network UK Limited. Two Alstom companies and a number of former executives are now being prosecuted by the SFO in connection with allegations of overseas corruption.

Scotland

On 12 May there were more bribery convictions - this time not involving the SFO but at the hands of Scotland's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Two former directors of a construction company and two former employees of Edinburgh Council were convicted of bribery, fraud and money laundering offences. The former employees of the construction company admitted corruptly giving £42,500 in cash and hospitality to the value of £30,250 to two Edinburgh council employees as inducements to secure contracts for the repair and maintenance of publicly owned buildings. The bribery charges were under The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889, the legislation that pre-dates the Bribery Act 2010. The accused also admitted committing fraud and breaching proceeds of crime legislations at a hearing in Edinburgh Sheriff court. The scheme involved falsely inflating invoices. It was uncovered in 2011 after a whistleblower raised concerns. Invoices were found that were falsely inflated to the value of more than £67,000.
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Guatemalans take to the streets again as new corruption scandal rocks the Pérez Molina administration - The Tico Times

Guatemalans take to the streets again as new corruption scandal rocks the Pérez Molina administration - The Tico Times | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
For the fifth consecutive week, protesters gathered in front of the presidential palace on Saturday to demand President Otto Pérez Molina’s resignation after his administration was tainted by yet another corruption scandal.

As has become the custom in the country’s recent wave of anti-corruption protests, demonstrators sang the national anthem and waved homemade placards that read: “It’s Otto’s turn to face trial” and “Give us back what you’ve stolen!”

The protests began after the U.N.-supported International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) revealed, on April 16, that a number of high-level government officials were involved in a massive customs fraud network known as “La Línea” that was allegedly led by former Vice President Roxana Baldetti’s private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón.

Neither Baldetti’s resignation on May 8 nor Pérez Molina’s recent decision to sack three Cabinet ministers and his head of intelligence in a desperate attempt to clean up his government’s image have managed to placate protesters’ indignation.

Far from dying down, a fresh scandal involving another close ally of President Pérez Molina has fanned the flames of discontent.

The latest protest was spontaneous and was not organized on social media, which explains why it was considerably smaller than the ones held in previous weeks – Prensa Libre newspaper estimated that 200 people attended this impromptu demonstration as opposed to 60,000 on May 16. But although it was small in numbers, those who took to the streets on Saturday were undeterred by the persistent rain and were determined to make their voices heard.

Some donned the stylized Guy Fawkes mask made popular by the Anonymous hacktivist group that has become the symbol of anti-government protesters worldwide.

And in a particularly dramatic gesture, a protester, disguised as Jesus, mock crucified himself in front of the presidential palace. On the cross, he had posted the words CACIF corruptores (CACIF- Guatemala’s influential private sector lobby – you are the bribers), a reference to the fact that a number of businesses bribed the customs officials involved in “La Línea” in order to pay less than the legal tariff on imports.

Although CACIF has sought to distance itself from the Pérez Molina administration by calling for a “national crusade against corruption” many demonstrators have highlighted the fact that the businesses that greased the palms of corrupt officials should also be held accountable.
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Pope: wealth that is not shared generates corruption

Pope: wealth that is not shared generates corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
If you are wealthy, you should make sure your riches serve the "common good." An abundance of things lived selfishly is "sad", steals "hope," and is the origin "of all kinds of corruption," large or small. That was Pope Francis’ reflection in his Homily at this morning’s Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.
Listen to this report by Tracey McClure:
In his Homily, Pope Francis reflects on one of the most famous passages of the Gospel: Jesus meets the rich young man who enthusiastically asks to follow Him and assures Him he will always live by the commandments.  But when Jesus tells him one last thing is needed - to sell his things, give everything to the poor and then follow Him - the young man’s attitude and willingness swiftly change. Suddenly, "the joy and hope" in the rich young man vanish, because he does not want to give up his riches.
"The attachment to riches is the beginning of all kinds of corruption, everywhere: personal corruption, corruption in business, even small commercial bribery, the kind that shortchanges you at the counter, political corruption, corruption in education ... Why? Because those who live attached to their own power, their own wealth, they believe they’re in heaven. They are closed; they have no horizon, no hope. Eventually they will have to leave everything."
Rich and sterile
"There is a mystery in the possession of wealth," says Francis. "Riches have the ability to seduce, to take us to a seduction and make us believe that we are in a paradise on earth." Instead, says the Pope, that earthly paradise is a place without "horizon", similar to that neighborhood the pontiff  remembers seeing in the seventies, inhabited by wealthy people who had built walls and fences to defend their property from thieves:
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AUSTRALIA: ICAC review could muzzle the corruption watchdog, but it's still got plenty of work to do

AUSTRALIA: ICAC review could muzzle the corruption watchdog, but it's still got plenty of work to do | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The future of the Independent Commission Against Corruption as an effective corruption watchdog remains uncertain. Those "I LOVE ICAC" bumper stickers indicate its great popularity with the public through its sensational exposure of practices which have perverted the public interest. But "I HATE ICAC" is also a powerful thought which must now be running through the resentful and embittered minds of its many victims over the 26 years of its existence.

Even if those victims have managed to stay out of jail or avoided prosecution, a NSW ICAC "corrupt conduct" finding against their names remains forever Googleable – a black mark to be carried with them to the grave and beyond. If the victim previously had some standing or status in our status-conscious society the hurt felt would only inflame the hatred.

Contrition is not readily apparent in the corrupt. 


Advice: The High Court ruled that ICAC could not investigate Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen. Photo: Nic Walker
While both the Mike Baird government and the Luke Foley opposition both proclaimed their undying commitment to ICAC after the High Court's recent hammer blow to its investigative scope, a government-appointed "independent panel" has been tasked to review ICAC by root and branch.

Suffering from life-long cynicism for which therapy has not worked, I immediately thought this will be the moment when ICAC is going to be smothered with a soft cushion in a back room.

So wide are the terms of reference, so strong the criticism of ICAC's inquisitorial methods within the Australian lawyer milieu, that for sure its newly-appointed reviewers, Murray Gleeson, QC, and Bruce McClintock, SC, will devise a procedural straitjacket, won't they? The fix is in.

Jim Wesberry's insight:

Historically any public body that successfully combats corruption is systematically destroyed. This has been true across the world.

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Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption | OPA | Department of Justice

Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
The Defendants Include Two Current FIFA Vice Presidents and the Current and Former Presidents of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); Seven Defendants Arrested Overseas; Guilty Pleas for Four Individual Defendants and Two Corporate Defendants Also Unsealed

A 47-count indictment was unsealed early this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.  The guilty pleas of four individual defendants and two corporate defendants were also unsealed today.

The defendants charged in the indictment include high-ranking officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization responsible for the regulation and promotion of soccer worldwide, as well as leading officials of other soccer governing bodies that operate under the FIFA umbrella.  Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States – are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses.  The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Director James B. Comey of the FBI, Assistant Director in Charge Diego W. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-CI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Also earlier this morning, Swiss authorities in Zurich arrested seven of the defendants charged in the indictment, the defendants Jeffrey Webb, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel and José Maria Marin, at the request of the United States.  Also this morning, a search warrant is being executed at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami, Florida.

The guilty pleas of the four individual and two corporate defendants that were also unsealed today include the guilty pleas of Charles Blazer, the long-serving former general secretary of CONCACAF and former U.S. representative on the FIFA executive committee; José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a multinational sports marketing conglomerate headquartered in Brazil; and two of Hawilla’s companies, Traffic Sports International Inc. and Traffic Sports USA Inc., which is based in Florida.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.  Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.” 

Attorney General Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the authorities of the government of Switzerland, as well as several other international partners, for their outstanding assistance in this investigation.

“Today’s announcement should send a message that enough is enough,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Currie.  “After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start – a new chance for its governing institutions to provide honest oversight and support of a sport that is beloved across the world, increasingly so here in the United States.  Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation.”  
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FIFA Rocked as U.S. Charges 14 in Corruption Investigation

FIFA Rocked as U.S. Charges 14 in Corruption Investigation | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Nine soccer officials and five others were indicted for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses in connection with participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.

Swiss police arrested seven FIFA officials early Wednesday as Swiss and U.S. authorities unveiled separate, sweeping probes of alleged corruption, spanning more than two decades, at the world’s top governing body for soccer.

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said it had charged nine current and former FIFA officials and five others on broad corruption charges, accusing them of various schemes over 24 years to enrich themselves through FIFA. U.S. authorities said they would detail their accusations at a news conference in the U.S. later Wednesday.

At the same time, Swiss authorities said they had opened up a separate criminal probe related specifically to Russia and Qatar being awarded the right to host future World Cups.

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Ecuador Takes Action Against Corruption

Ecuador Takes Action Against Corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Politician Esperanza Galvan has confessed to engaging in irregular activities, as she allegedly solicited US$800,000 under Vice President Jorge Glas' name from Miguel Salvatierra, the manager of a national contracting firm, passing the money through an intermediary. With this revelation, calls have been made for Galvan's removal from the National Assembly.

Vice President Glas said, "I request that the National Legislative Assembly immediately follows necessary procedures to expel legislator Esperanza Galvan from the National Assembly, as consequence of the actions."

Leaders of PAIS Alliance have denounced these acts of corruption committed by members of their own party, and the party's Ethical Commission has announced the expulsion of the three involved individuals as well as creation of a website where citizens can report corruption anonymously.

"We are taking this expulsion of the three former members of our movement to the National Electoral Council so that they are erased from the registers of our organization," said President of the PAIS Alliance Ethical Commission Carlos Marx Carrasco to the press at the party headquarters.

A commission of the General Comptroller’s office is set to investigate all 137 members of the National Assembly over a 40-day period, to enhance transparency and weeding out other possible cases of corruption, which could emerge following Galvan’s detention.

National Assembly President Gabriela Rivadeneira praised the move, saying, "This could create greater transparency, not only for the activities that citizens undertake in this moment when they are public servants, but also as an incentive for other parts of the state, so that all public servants as part of this political moral code constantly undergo this process as a permanent activity, creating greater transparency."

The detention of the three individuals is sending a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated under the Citizen's Revolution, as Ecuador is acting swiftly to bring those responsible to justice, and government officials have emphasized that all possible cases both within and outside of the PAIS Alliance party will be investigated as part of a zero tolerance policy.
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Latin America suffers toll of corruption

Latin America suffers toll of corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Guatemalans are steaming. Crowds of them have poured into the streets this month — some 60,000 on May 16 alone — to protest corruption and demand the ouster of President Otto Perez Molina.

Triggered by the scandal over a giant scheme of import tax fraud, the widening crisis already has toppled the nation's vice president, the energy minister, the Central Bank governor and interior minister.

Social upheaval has a deep history in Guatemala, where Marxist-inspired guerrillas battled security forces from 1960 to 1996, leaving 200,000 dead.

What's new, and encouraging, is the popular revolt against resurgent corruption, which has reignited partisan feuds and sapped confidence in the country's still-wobbly democratic institutions at a time when this nation of more than 14.6 million may need them most.


Latin America is no stranger to bureaucrats on the take. The region traditionally merits dismal ratings on Transparency International's annual corruption perception index. In 2014, Guatemala ranked a lowly 115th among 175 countries.

For a while, paying off officialswas brushed off as a necessary lubricant for the cumbersome gears of government service. “Rouba mas faz,” — “He steals but gets things done” — was the unofficial disclaimer in the 1940s for the famously light-fingered but much admired Sao Paulo governor, Ademar de Barros.

No one is winking now. That may be because corruption has grown exponentially. In Brazil, it's as big as Petrobras, the state oil company, which just reported $2.1 billion in losses to kickbacks and graft.

The other reason is that wherever corruption spreads, violence generally follows. The link between bent officials and the region's fevered murder rate, according to a recent report by Insight Crime — a news portal which monitors illicit activity in the Americas — is organized crime.


In recent years, international cartels moving cocaine, arms and laundered money have installed themselves in key transshipment locations in Latin America and the Caribbean. As their franchises expanded, they have converted several countries into global crime hubs.

More than greasing the odd palm or exploiting the blind spots of flawed institutions, the cartels — Sinaloa and Zetas in Mexico, the Soles of Venezuela, Colombia's FARC and Barrio18 of Guatemala — have systematically crippled law enforcement by capturing local governments or buying entire police departments — often to devastating effect.

The most blatant example was the kidnapping and apparent massacre of 43 Mexican students by drug traffickers allegedly in service to the mayor of Iguala, in southern Mexico, last August. In a recent poll, Mexican businesses named lack of public safety as the biggest single obstacle to growth.

It's much the same for El Salvador, where powerful gangs forced government to broker a truce with outlaws, which briefly quelled one of the world's highest murder rates before the deal fell apart.
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Panama businessman claims to have delivered millions in kickback cash to former president

Panama businessman claims to have delivered millions in kickback cash to former president | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Evidence of massive corruption committed by former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli while in office continues to stun Panamanians.

Cristóbal ‘Tobin’ Salerno Balestra, who ran Cobranzas del Istmo, SA, a Panamanian company that collected delinquent taxes on behalf of the General Revenue Department, has testified that he delivered bags of cash, each containing $400-$600,000, every three months to the offices of Martinelli’s Super 99 supermarket chain.

Salerno’s company earned an estimated $45m during a four-year period; he is being held under house arrest, on order of the Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.

Salerno also testified that he gave Martinelli a check for $900,000, as a kickback for the lucrative business, awarded to him by Martinelli in a no-bid contract.

Martinelli’s present location is unknown, though his publicists swear that he is living in the United States. He even has posted “evidence” of his purchase of a luxury automobile in Miami, though most believe he is in hiding on an estate he purchased in Paraguay.
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Brazil Examines HSBC Clients Who Put $5.4 Billion in Switzerland

Brazil Examines HSBC Clients Who Put $5.4 Billion in Switzerland | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Brazil tax authorities examining a trove of data on HSBC Holdings Plc clients are looking for signs the nation’s citizens broke laws while holding $5.4 billion almost a decade ago in Swiss accounts at the bank.
The Receita Federal tax agency found Brazilians stockpiled those funds in 1,702 accounts at the end of 2006 after it reviewed data obtained through an agreement with French authorities, according to an e-mailed statement Monday.
The tax authority is cross-referencing the information with its own data and asked the nation’s central bank to help sift for criminal acts against the financial system, such as money laundering, according to the statement. Receita also is seeking to identify any public servants and other people with political ties among the HSBC customers.
France began scrutinizing HSBC’s Swiss private bank after a former information technology worker at the firm stole client account details from HSBC’s Geneva office in 2008 and passed them to the government. The aging information came under renewed public scrutiny around the world this year as media reports revealed the sweep of HSBC’s private-banking arm as of 2007, when it controlled $100 billion in assets and served a swath of wealthy depositors from the elite to the illicit.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Pastor unfit for fraud, corruption trial - Crime & Courts

SOUTH AFRICA:  Pastor unfit for fraud, corruption trial - Crime & Courts | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Pastor Josias Mabaso is mentally unstable and will not be standing trial for defrauding the government of millions and trying to bribe a journalist not to blow the whistle.

 The corruption case against Mabaso was withdrawn on Tuesday in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

State advocate James Bhengu said Mabaso’s mental state and his fragile health had led to the withdrawal of the charges.

 “We sent him to Sterkfontein for observation and they confirmed that he was mentally unstable. Even the last time he was in court, he was throwing tantrums, saying things we could not understand,” Bhengu said on Tuesday, shortly after the case was withdrawn.

Mabaso is the founder of Ekukhanyeni Combined, a school franchise that comprised two schools in the Ramaphosa informal settlement and Denver.

He was arrested in 2011 after allegedly trying to bribe LeadSA’s Yusuf Abramjee, who is also Primedia’s head of corporate affairs and communications.

Abramjee had earlier gone to the two Ekukhanyeni schools and found that Mabaso had not channelled the millions the Gauteng Department of Education had given him, to them. They were run down and the children did not have food despite the fact that the department had given the schools R20 million in subsidy that year.

Abramjee confronted Mabaso. Mabaso allegedly offered to buy Abramjee’s silence for R1.2m.

The Hawks nabbed Mabaso for allegedly trying to hand Abramjee a R50 000 bribe, supposedly the first instalment of the R1.2m.

After the scandal broke, then Education MEC Barbara Creecy said her department had terminated the subsidy and placed the children in public schools.

Mabaso was charged with corruption, but after a lengthy court case that did not seem to be going anywhere, the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew charges.

The 73-year-old man made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday. He was accompanied by his son who always takes him to court.
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Governing party lawmaker arrested in Ecuador for corruption

Governing party lawmaker arrested in Ecuador for corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
A female lawmaker with the governing Alianza Pais movement identified as M.E.G. was arrested for allegedly receiving $800,000 from a company that supplied infrastructure services to the state, Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas announced Monday.

Glas said that he had reported the situation last week to the Attorney General's Office, which also arrested an AP activist identified as M.S.B. in the northwestern city of Esmeraldas and W.T.P.C. in Ibarra.

It is prohibited under Ecuadorian law to reveal the names of the arrested people.

The vice president said that the expulsion of M.E.G. and M.S.B. from the AP party will be requested, calling them "traitors" to the process of the Citizens Revolution, which has a "zero tolerance" policy on corruption, according to the daily El Telegrafo in its online addition.

The National Assembly will also be asked to expel the lawmaker, who is under arrest while the investigation is being conducted.

She was arrested on Sunday in Quito, said the AG's Office in a communique in which it also confirmed the arrests of the other two people.

The hearing to present charges will be held in the National Court of Justice, given that M.E.G. occupies a high public office, the AG's Office said.
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Corruption Complacency Must Be Challenged

From the comparatively modest malfeasance in the New York State legislature (both the State assembly Speaker as well as the Senate majority leader have been indicted for corruption) to the mega-million dollar graft engulfing Brazilian businessmen and politicians today, on to the all-consuming kleptocracy in the Kremlin, the abuse of public office for private gain is rampant.
Its cause is a combination of greed, arrogance and opportunity. The corrupt are aided by widespread complacency: a sense that corruption has always been around and always will be, so let us just accept it.
The U.S. government, for example, is acutely aware of the massive scale of corruption in every aspect of governance in Afghanistan, just as it was in Iraq. For years, our government shipped hundreds of millions of dollars into these two countries, ignoring how much of it was stolen and even used to support America’s enemies. This policy continues in Afghanistan.
U.S. reconstruction aid to Afghanistan alone over the last decade has exceeded $100 billion and when I asked at a conference in Washington DC how much of this has simply disappeared and cannot be accounted for, U.S. Special Inspector General John Sopko throws up his hands and says “its billions and billions.”
At home, American citizens have been largely silent as an explosion of cash in every corner of politics undermines the democratic process. Ann Ravel, the chair of the Federal Election Commission says her office is “worse than dysfunctional.” Vast amounts will be spent over the next 18 months by individuals and small groups of the wealthy in support of candidates for the highest public offices in the country — do you really think these donors are not going to seek something in return?
In Western Europe, governments and their leaders seem unmoved by the mounting media reports of rampant abuse. Former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker transformed his village of a country into the base for hundreds of multinational companies seeking to avoid taxes in the countries where they do business. When a journalist leaked detailed documents of the schemes, he was arrested and now faces a trial. Meanwhile, Juncker was elevated by Europe’s leaders to become president of the 19-country  European Union Commission.
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The Cost of Corruption in Latin America

The Cost of Corruption in Latin America | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Guatemalans are steaming. Crowds of them have poured into the streets this month --  some 60,000 on May 16 alone  -- to protest  corruption and demand the ouster of President Otto Perez Molina.

Triggered by the scandal over a giant scheme of import tax fraud, the widening crisis already has toppled the nation's vice president, the energy minister, the Central Bank governor and interior minister.

Social upheaval has a deep history in Guatemala, where Marxist-inspired guerrillas battled security forces from 1960 to 1996, leaving 200,000 dead.

What's new, and encouraging, is the popular revolt against resurgent corruption, which has reignited partisan feuds and sapped confidence in the country's still-wobbly democratic institutions at a time when this nation of more than 14.6 million may need them most.

Latin America is no stranger to bureaucrats on the take. The region traditionally merits dismal ratings on Transparency International's annual corruption perception index. In 2014, Guatemala ranked a lowly 115th among 175 countries.

For a while, paying off officials was brushed off as a necessary lubricant for the cumbersome gears of government service. "Rouba mas faz," -- "He steals but gets things done" -- was the unofficial disclaimer in the 1940s for the famously light-fingered but much admired Sao Paulo governor, Ademar de Barros.

No one is winking now. That may be because corruption has grown exponentially. In Brazil, it's as big as Petrobras, the state oil company, which just reported $2.1 billion in losses to kickbacks and graft.

The other reason is that wherever corruption spreads, violence generally follows. The link between bent officials and the region's fevered murder rate, according to a recent report by Insight Crime -- a news portal which monitors illicit activity in the Americas -- is organized crime.

 In recent years, international cartels moving cocaine, arms and laundered money have installed themselves in key transshipment locations in Latin America and the Caribbean. As their franchises expanded, they have converted several countries into global crime hubs.

More than greasing the odd palm or exploiting the blind spots of flawed institutions, the cartels -- Sinaloa and Zetas in Mexico, the Soles of Venezuela, Colombia's FARC and Barrio 18 of Guatemala -- have systematically crippled law enforcement by capturing local governments or buying entire police departments -- often to devastating effect.
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Let the Market, Not the Government, Stop Bribery - Breitbart

Let the Market, Not the Government, Stop Bribery - Breitbart | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
If you’re greedy to make products and deliver services in return for money, you’ll be accomplishing positive things: making consumers happy, earning a living, providing employment to people, and so forth.

But greed, when it comes to raking in bribes, isn’t good. Money spent paying bribes isn’t being used productively. It’s simply wasted. So where’s it going?

There are private sector bribes, but they’re small potatoes. As long as there’s competition in a sector, if someone demands a bribe for providing goods or services, you can always move on to another supplier.

Bribery, then, is mostly a problem in dealing with government officials, who have a legal monopoly in a particular area. In India, for example, the entire governmental system was, for decades, set up around bribes. Under the “License Raj,” getting anything done required the approval of a number of low level officials, and bribing each was simply part of the cost of business. Needless to say, that led to slow economic growth.

So along come governments to “save us” from a problem they almost exclusively create.

“[A]nti-bribery enforcement has been transformed since the early 2000s, when NGOs started to raise a stink and America stepped up use of its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),” The Economist reports. “As recently as 2007, the largest fine under the FCPA was less than $50m. Now the worst offenders pay 10-15 times that.”

As with so many government policies, that’s helping the well-connected do even better.

The anti-bribery crackdown is mostly creating work for lawyers and compliance officers. Mike Koehler at Southern Illinois University follows bribery and writes the “FCPA Professor” blog. He tells The Economist that FCPA litigation is “a very aggressively marketed area of the law,” and notes there are “no shortage of advisers financially incentivised to tell you the sky is falling in.”

In fact, anti-bribery law is simply too complex for a normal American to understand. “The FCPA often means what enforcement agencies say it means,” Professor Koehler tells The Economist. “We have only a façade of enforcement.”

That makes it sort of like tax law, health care law and financial law. Tax lawyers and accountants are making plenty of money in the new economy, devising tax breaks for the well-connected. Meanwhile, under ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, nobody can say for certain what health care law or financial law are. Policies are being made up, often on the spot, by bureaucrats and administered by well-paid lawyers and compliance experts.
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A view that I do NOT share!

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PHILLIPINES: Aquino: 'Man to beat' Binay should explain on corruption claims

PHILLIPINES:  Aquino: 'Man to beat' Binay should explain on corruption claims | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Vice President Jejomar Binay may top early surveys on the 2016 presidential elections, but President Benigno Aquino III says his status as the “man to beat” in the coming polls depends on his ability to answer corruption allegations against him.

“The impression has been that he has been at the forefront of the challenge if we look at all of the surveys. But at the same time, I think that question rests on his ability to be able to answer all of the allegations that he is being confronted with at this present time,” Aquino said on the sidelines of an education department event in Marikina City on Monday, May 25.

Binay, the leader of the political opposition, has been leading surveys on voters' preferred presidential candidates for 2016. He is the only aspirant to have announced his plans – and has the ready machinery – for a 2016 bid.

But Binay is also at the center of a huge corruption scandal, the basis of a months-long probe by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee and of charges pending before the Ombudsman. Binay is accused of pocketing millions during his stint as mayor of Makati, allegedly through infrastructure projects.

Binay also allegedly hid his wealth through dummies. Recently, the Court of Appeals (CA) froze the bank accounts of Binay and his alleged dummies over allegedly anomalous transactions as flagged by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)

During the same chance interview with reporters, Aquino heaped praises on Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumed standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) whom he considers on “top of the list” for 2016 presidential candidates.
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Ex-Israeli PM Ehud Olmert sentenced in bribery case - CNN.com

Ex-Israeli PM Ehud Olmert sentenced in bribery case - CNN.com | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to eight months in prison for taking cash from an American businessman.

He was also fined $25,700.

Police said Olmert received the money from 1993 through 2006, during his tenure as Jerusalem's mayor and while holding ministerial positions under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He took over as prime minister in 2006 after a stroke incapacitated Sharon.

The new sentence is in addition to the six years in prison Olmert is already facing for taking bribes related to a controversial Jerusalem housing project -- also while he was mayor.

Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. He served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009.
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