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Bank of America ordered to pay $1.27 billion for 'Hustle' fraud

Bank of America ordered to pay $1.27 billion for 'Hustle' fraud | Global Corruption |

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) to pay a $1.27 billion penalty for fraud over shoddy mortgages sold by the former Countrywide Financial Corp.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan ruled after a jury last October found the second-largest U.S. bank liable for the sale by Countrywide of defective loans to government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac(FMCC.OB)

Rakoff also ordered former mid-level Countrywide executive Rebecca Mairone, who was also found liable and was the only individual charged, to pay $1 million, citing her "leading role" in the fraud and calling some of her testimony "implausible."

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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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Nathan Deal's tax man hits Copart with $74 million bill | Better Georgia

Nathan Deal's tax man hits Copart with $74 million bill | Better Georgia | Global Corruption |
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EU Kosovo mission to investigate claims of graft in own ranks

EU Kosovo mission to investigate claims of graft in own ranks | Global Corruption |
The European Union justice mission in Kosovo (EULEX) is looking into allegations some of its senior staff may have dropped criminal charges against some defendants from Kosovo in return for money, the leading newspaper Koha Ditore said.

EULEX said in a written response to Reuters questions that it did not comment on "any ongoing investigation, or any leaked document" purporting to be linked to an investigation, and added: "Allegations are receiving the follow-up required."

EULEX is the biggest and most expensive EU foreign mission. It deals with sensitive issues in Kosovo such as organized crime, corruption and war crimes cases considered too big to be handled by local prosecutors and judges.

It also helps local authorities train justice officials and set up a professional and independent judiciary

The allegations appeared on Monday in Kosovo's leading newspaper Koha Ditore. The daily, citing leaked documents, said the cases included murder and two of corruption involving high officials from Kosovo.

An international source in the EU mission told Reuters the accusations "were already known to the mission" and had been leaked by a prosecutor. The prosecutor had since been suspended for leaking documents, the source said.
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Common Fraud Schemes

Common Fraud Schemes | Global Corruption |
“Ponzi’ Schemes

“Ponzi” schemes promise high financial returns or dividends not available through traditional investments. Instead of investing the funds of victims, however, the con artist pays “dividends” to initial investors using the funds of subsequent investors. The scheme generally falls apart when the operator flees with all of the proceeds or when a sufficient number of new investors cannot be found to allow the continued payment of “dividends.”

This type of fraud is named after its creator—Charles Ponzi of Boston, Massachusetts. In the early 1900s, Ponzi launched a scheme that guaranteed investors a 50 percent return on their investment in postal coupons. Although he was able to pay his initial backers, the scheme dissolved when he was unable to pay later investors.

Tips for Avoiding Ponzi Schemes:

Be careful of any investment opportunity that makes exaggerated earnings claims.
Exercise due diligence in selecting investments and the people with whom you invest—in other words, do your homework.
Consult an unbiased third party—like an unconnected broker or licensed financial advisor—before investing.
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Rampant financial crime in City of London eroding public trust - BoE

Rampant financial crime in City of London eroding public trust - BoE | Global Corruption |
A top Bank of England (BoE) official warns widespread financial crime in the City of London is eroding public trust. The BoE’s criticism surfaced as it launched a review to tackle market manipulation.

In her first public address since adopting the position of BoE Deputy Governor, Nemet Minouche Shafik denounced the actions of UK traders in foreign exchange, currencies and bonds markets, warning financial misconduct in these sectors goes well beyond a few rogue financiers.

Referencing LIBOR riggers’ behavior as unacceptable, she suggested fines for such fraudulent activity were inadequate and signified “salt rubbed into the wounds to public confidence in financial markets.”

LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) currently determines the cost of up to $350 trillion worth of global financial products. While the 21st century has been littered with financial scandals, Libor rigging by leading global banks has been dubbed the most flagrant in modern history.

Approximately £4 billion worth of fines have been issued for the manipulation of core benchmark rates to date, and the City is expecting further fines for the rigging of currency markets to be publicly announced in November.
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Why we must tackle illicit financial flows

Why we must tackle illicit financial flows | Global Corruption |
One trillion dollars. That’s a big number. It’s hard to ignore.

One trillion dollars, according to estimates by Global Financial Integrity, is the amount lost every year by developing countries through illicit financial outflows connected to trade mispricing, bribery, theft, kick-backs, tax evasion, organized crime, and trafficking of drugs, weapons, and humans. This means that for every one US dollar developing countries receive in external assistance, ten US dollars are lost to illicit financial flows (IFFS). These estimates should be treated with caution—it is difficult to measure what is designed to remain hidden. But even if we accept that these estimates are uncertain, no one doubts that IFFs are huge.

IFFs drain hard currency reserves, heighten inflation, reduce tax collection, discourage investment, and weaken free trade.  These practices stifle poverty alleviation efforts, undermine the integrity of government, and damage the foundations of society.

At a recent panel on IFFs during the WBG/IMF Annual Meetings, President of Global Financial Integrity Raymond Baker called IFFs “the greatest economic impediment to sustainable development” and appealed for action: “Curbing illicit financial flows must become a priority within the sustainable development goals (SDG) agenda. This is at the heart of the systemic causes of poverty and inequality affecting billions of people around the world.” Danish Minister of Trade, Development and Cooperation Mogens Jensen and State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hans Brattskar echoed this call for action and their countries’ readiness for continued support for combating IFFs.
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China to Indict Former General on Bribery Charges

China to Indict Former General on Bribery Charges | Global Corruption |
Chinese prosecutors will indict the military's former No. 2 official on bribery charges in an indication of the Communist Party's determination to fight corruption at all levels, state media said Tuesday.

Xu Caihou, former deputy chairman of the ruling Communist Party's powerful Central Military Commission, has admitted to allegations that he took "especially huge amounts" of bribes directly or through family members to help others get promoted or receive other benefits, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Xu is the most senior military figure snared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption launched by President Xi Jinping, and his case points to rampant corruption in the military ranks.

Xu was the top uniformed officer in the military and ranked in seniority only behind then-President Hu Jintao, who was the commission chairman.

PLA Daily, the official newspaper of China's People's Liberation Army, said prosecutors will bring indictments against Xu in a military court.

It said Xu has bladder cancer but that prosecutors will ensure he receives medical treatment.

Xu also has been expelled from the Communist Party and his rank as general has been revoked, Xinhua said.

It is uncommon for the party to reveal corruption cases involving military personnel, but Beijing wants to send signals that its anti-graft campaign is serious and applies to everyone, no matter how high-ranking they are.
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USA: Why you can't let Alabama's political corruption get you down

USA: Why you can't let Alabama's political corruption get you down | Global Corruption |
Whenever a powerful politician is reminded that public service does not mean the public is there to service him, it is an example to all politicians.

Whenever it is shown that rules apply even to the most powerful among us, chalk it up as a win.

Every time we find ourselves disappointed by the behavior of those we select for power, we are reminded how important it is to educate ourselves, to choose wisely on issues and characteristics that really matter.

Every moment we hit bottom we come to see the only way out is up.

Yes, any day we hear of corruption in Alabama is a sad day. It is. But it's just as true that any day corruption is challenged and fought is a good day for Alabamians.

We've been hit with that bat so many times we come to expect it. We flinch every single time, because it hurts.

But that's good, too. Because it reminds us, Alabama, that we deserve better than what we get.  We always have.
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Greek corruption undermining recovery

Greek corruption undermining recovery | Global Corruption |
Celebrated riot dog Loukanikos has died earlier this month, leaving many Greeks sad in a story that made headlines across the world.

Famous for his role during the height of the eurozone crisis, where he faced down riot police and tear gas, he became a symbol of the country’s fight against austerity before retiring from the protest racket in 2012.

As Greek public finances inch further and further away from ‘junk status’, with most analysts expecting it to emerge from recession this year before expanding by 2.9 percent in 2015, mass street protests are now a thing of the past.

But as a comfortable lull in public vigilance sets in, corruption in Greece is thriving unhindered.

According to Transparency International's reports, Greece is trailing the corruption heap in Europe, with the EU commission saying the phenomenon has reached "breathtaking proportions".

Apart from a few high profile exceptions, such as a case involving German arms firms that paid bribes to Greek officials, the government seems unwilling or unable to change course. Moreover, on more than one occasion, such inaction has actually fostered a culture of corruption.
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Berlin airport tech chief guilty of corruption - The Local

Berlin airport tech chief guilty of corruption - The Local | Global Corruption |
Jochen Großmann, who was fired in June when the allegations were made public, was given a one-year suspended prison sentence by a court in Cottbus for fraud and corruption. He was also fined €200,000. 
Großmann demanded €500,000 from a potential contractor for work on the massively overbudget and delayed Berlin Airport (BER). The work was to fix the airport's smoke extraction system - which is the main reason behind its delayed launch. 
On two other occasions Großmann defrauded the airport by overbilling them for €50,000. In two further incidents he overbilled by a total of €5,000. 
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Former Boeing sub-contractor sentenced for fraud

Former Boeing sub-contractor sentenced for fraud | Global Corruption |
A 48-year-old local man was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison in connection with a bribery/kickback scheme involving Boeing military aircraft parts, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said Monday. Two co-conspirators were sentenced as well.

According to court documents, Boeing Procurement Officer Deon Anderson allegedly provided J.L. Manufacturing, a Washington-based aerospace job machine shop, non-public competitor bid information and historical price information in connection with multiple Boeing military aircraft part purchase order requests.

That information was used in bids submitted by J.L. Manufacturing to Boeing for approximately nine different Boeing parts requests - of those nine, J.L. Manufacturing was awarded seven, totaling more than $2 million.

In exchange for the information, J.L. Manufacturing's Robert Diaz and Jeffrey Lavelle made cash payments to Anderson in St. Louis and California.

In addition, the indictment states that another Boeing sub-contractor, William Boozer, the owner and operator of Globe Dynamics, asked Anderson to provide non-public competitor bid information and price information in exchange for cash payments.

The indictment alleges that Boozer frequently communicated with Anderson via phone and email, with Boozer frequently requesting "Isle 5," a coded reference to a "price check on aisle 5," which he and Anderson understood was a request for inside information.

Anderson gave Boozer information for bids on behalf of Globe Dynamics for approximately 16 different Boeing requests. Of the 16 bids, Globe Dynamics was awarded seven purchase orders to supply U.S. military aircraft parts to Boeing - totaling more than $1.5 million.
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Bribery Plot Reveals Dark Underside of Mysterious Money-Printing Industry

Bribery Plot Reveals Dark Underside of Mysterious Money-Printing Industry | Global Corruption |
One day in December 2005, a few hours before dawn, employees of the Austrian central bank, dressed in blue overalls, began stacking about 30 million bank notes onto wooden pallets. They loaded the manat bills, the currency of Azerbaijan, into 38-ton trucks, according to people familiar with the shipment. Escorted by police in unmarked BMWs, the convoy rumbled past Vienna’s centuries-old churches and Habsburg palaces, crossed the Slovakian border and arrived at Bratislava Airport. There, the shrink-wrapped pallets were loaded onto a plane destined for Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

It looked like any other transaction in the international money-printing market, where bills are bought and sold amid tight security, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue. In fact, Austrian prosecutors say, the sale was part of a corrupt bargain between officials at the Austrian central bank and their Azerbaijani counterparts.

Prosecutors put nine people on trial earlier this year, with charges including bribery and money laundering. The defendants included the co–chief executive officers of Oesterreichische Banknoten-und Sicherheitsdruck GmbH, or OeBS, the printing subsidiary of Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Austria’s central bank.
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Big banks’ stunning setback: Meet two officials saying no to Bank of America

Big banks’ stunning setback: Meet two officials saying no to Bank of America | Global Corruption |
After relying on out-of-court settlements to skirt big consequences, banks have finally met their match. Here's why
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E-LIBRO GRATIS: Redes Ilícitas y Política en América Latina

E-LIBRO GRATIS: Redes Ilícitas y Política en América Latina | Global Corruption |
El crimen organizado es un fenómeno mundial que distorsiona los mercados económicos locales y mundiales, crea violencia y desdibuja el rol de los Estados en la provisión de servicios básicos, todo en aras de incrementar su riqueza. Una de las principales armas que usan estas redes para alcanzar sus fines es la corrupción de políticos y el grueso del aparato estatal en los países donde operan, afectando así los principios básicos de la democracia y poniendo al Estado al servicio de los intereses económicos ilícitos.

Éste es un problema global. América Latina es una de las regiones que ha sufrido de este mal por una serie de factores: la fuerte presencia de redes ilícitas dedicadas a distintas actividades ilegales, incluyendo la minería ilegal, el tráfico de especies exóticas, el tráfico de armas y, de manera especialmente prominente, la producción y comercialización de drogas ilegales como la cocaína. Estas actividades han generado una entrada masiva de dinero ilícito que, sumada al alto costo de la actividad política en la región y la dificultad para controlar sus gastos, ha producido un cóctel tóxico que abre las puertas para que el crimen organizado penetre en la política. Los numerosos esfuerzos adelantados en diferentes países de América Latina para enfrentar este fenómeno han alcanzado logros importantes. Existen numerosas experiencias positivas y negativas que pueden servir para evaluar cómo otros países pueden hacer frente a estos problemas, tanto en la misma región como en otros continentes.

Este libro se centra en las experiencias de Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras y Perú. Los autores reúnen una serie de estudios que ilustran cómo se forjan las relaciones entre criminales y políticos, e identifican numerosos instrumentos para responder a dicho fenómeno, observando los logros y retos en su aplicación práctica.
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Gov. Nathan Deal and the Longest Corruption Scandal in Georgia History

Gov. Nathan Deal and the Longest Corruption Scandal in Georgia History | Global Corruption |
lo and behold, the sweetest contract—for the populous region, including Gainesville and Atlanta, where fees were higher than anywhere else—had been handed to a company called Gainesville Salvage Disposal, co-owned by none other than Nathan Deal, a state senator in 1990, and, by 2007, a U.S. representative in Washington. Nobody could tell Graham how or why the contracts were granted, and Deal himself said of the process, “I don’t know there was much of an official thing,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2009.

But the money was official enough, so with the support of the state attorney general, Graham decided to end the no-bid monopolies and privatize the system, saving $1.7 million off the annual state budget. While Graham may have expected some pushback from the beneficiaries of the sweetheart system, he could never have foreseen the lengths to which Deal would go to keep that spigot of taxpayer cash open. 

Nathan Deal.
Two years earlier, Nathan Deal had sunk $2 million into his daughter Carrie Wilder’s business venture, Wilder Outdoors, and by the spring of 2008 had signed off on more than $2 million in additional loans as the store failed to turn a profit. Easing Deal’s pain somewhat were the tens of thousands of dollars he earned as a corporate officer of GSD, as reported on his W2s. 

The only problem was that Congress prohibited members from serving as corporate officers and from making more than about $25,000 in outside earned income. And by 2007 Deal was earning nearly three times that amount from GSD per his tax returns. Representative Deal solved that problem by simply failing to disclose his position at GSD on his congressional financial reports, and listing his earned income as dividends instead, according to a complaint by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

So in June of 2008, Commissioner Graham was called to a meeting by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and found himself greeted by Deal, flanked by his GSD business partner Ken Cronan and Chief of Staff Chris Riley. Cagle later claimed it was simply a talk between the commissioner and a constituent businessman, while Deal claims to have been acting as a “public servant.”

In any case, Deal was there to ask that GSD be granted a full-time, state-paid inspector, which would mean more title inspections for himself and Cronan and, naturally, more revenue. Graham, who had informed Deal of his intentions to privatize the system five months earlier, refused on the grounds that no other location had a full-time inspector, and anyway, he hadn’t changed his mind about ending the monopolies.

Deal, however, was not inclined to take no for an answer, and just four days before Wilder Outdoors closed up for good—leaving Deal with a $2 million cash loss plus more than $2 million in loan debt, for which he would soon have to put his Gainesville home on the market and liquidate retirement accounts—another meeting was called.

Debt Soars as Monopoly Ends

The meeting was described as “contentious” and “hostile,” and Graham has said that Deal left no doubt he wanted the $1.7 million for title inspectors restored to the state budget, justifying the move in part by speculating that if left to the free market, “illegal aliens” might end up getting the work. Despite the pressure, Graham refused to budge.

Yet three days later, on the eve of Wilder Outdoors’ closure, the $1.7 million for state title inspectors reappeared in the budget. Neither the Senate committee chairman nor the subcommittee chairman overseeing the process claim to know or recall how it happened. The lieutenant governor’s office had no comment.

But a few hundred thousand in income is no match for millions in losses and debt, and in May of 2009, Deal and Cronan would take out a $2.8 million loan, backed by the assets of GSD. This loan would go undisclosed by Deal for over a year until uncovered and reported by the AJC. And in that same month, Deal announced he’d be running for governor of Georgia—and, of course, accepting contributions to a campaign fund.
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Cyber Crime: Purchase Order Scam Leaves a Trail of Victims

Cyber Crime: Purchase Order Scam Leaves a Trail of Victims | Global Corruption |

What began as a scheme to defraud office supply stores has evolved into more ambitious crimes that have cost retailers around the country millions of dollars—and the Nigerian cyber criminals behind the fraud have also turned at-home Internet users into unsuspecting accomplices.

FBI investigators are calling it purchase order fraud, and the perpetrators are extremely skillful. Through online and telephone social engineering techniques, the fraudsters trick retailers into believing they are from legitimate businesses and academic institutions and want to order merchandise. The retailers believe they are filling requests for established customers, but the goods end up being shipped elsewhere—often to the unsuspecting at-home Internet users, who are then duped into re-shipping the merchandise to Nigeria.

“They order large quantities of items such as laptops and hard drives,” said Special Agent Joanne Altenburg, who has been investigating the cyber criminals since 2012 out of our Washington Field Office. “They have also ordered expensive and very specialized equipment, such as centrifuges and other medical and pharmaceutical items.”

Our investigators have found more than 85 companies and universities nationwide whose identities were used to perpetrate the scheme. Approximately 400 actual or attempted incidents have targeted some 250 vendors, and nearly $5 million has been lost so far.

The scam has several variations, but basically it works like this:

The criminals set up fake websites with domain names almost identical to those of real businesses or universities. They do the same for e-mail accounts and also use telephone spoofing techniques to make calls appear to be from the right area codes.
Next, the fraudsters—posing as school or business officials—contact a retailer’s customer service center and use social engineering tactics to gather information about the organization’s purchasing account.
The criminals then contact the target business and request a quote for products. They use forged documents, complete with letterhead and sometimes even the name of the organization’s actual product manager. They request that the shipments be made on a 30-day credit—and since the real institution often has good credit, vendors usually agree.
The criminals provide a U.S. shipping address that might be a warehouse, self-storage facility, or the residence of a victim of an online romance or work-from-home scam (see sidebar). Those at-home victims are directed to re-ship the merchandise to Nigeria and are provided with shipping labels to make the job easy.
The vendor eventually bills the real institution and discovers the fraud. By then, the items have been re-shipped overseas, and the retailer must absorb the financial loss.

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CHINA: Overhaul of anti-graft legislation on the way

CHINA: Overhaul of anti-graft legislation on the way | Global Corruption |
China will upgrade anti-corruption legislation as it continues a campaign to build a clean government and practice austerity.

Anti-graft laws will be introduced into national legislation to construct a better prevention and punishment system, said a key policy document from the Communist Party of China published on Tuesday.

The legal definition of "bribes" will not be limited to the current "money and goods". Instead, all "property interests" will be regarded as bribes in graft cases.

The decision on major issues concerning comprehensively advancing the rule of law was approved by the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee last week.

Officials taking non-monetary presents are not subject to criminal charges under the current criminal law, while many graft officials defend themselves by claiming that the bribes they are accused of taking were gifts given by friends.

The legislation is likely to deem that accepting non-monetary gifts of a considerable amount would be punishable for all government officials.

Traditionally, people in China give friends gifts or red envelopes filled with cash on special occasions, such as weddings, holidays and birthdays. The amount of cash varies from a few hundred to thousands of yuan.

However, the gifts and red envelopes, which bear good wishes and provide financial assistance, have been used as a means of bribery. Luxury items, including Birkin handbags, Vacheron watches and Hermes belts, have become popular gifts for officials.

Current laws do not stipulate taking gifts and red envelopes by an official as a crime unless the behavior is proved to be related to the abuse of power. However, officials exploit this loophole by taking bribes under the guise of receiving "gifts" from friends.
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China Tries to Track the Corrupt Officials Fleeing Abroad

China Tries to Track the Corrupt Officials Fleeing Abroad | Global Corruption |
China’s government estimates that the number of corrupt officials who have moved abroad to sidestep the law and safeguard personal fortunes ranges from 4,000 to 18,000 people. The government charged with corruption nearly 7,000 officials whom it suspected were plotting to flee the country from 2008 to 2013,  according to Cao Jianming, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court.

Government data in an online report from the People’s Daily names the U.S. and Canada as the top destinations–dubbed “corrupt paradises”–for emigrating officials. Records from authorities in Toronto and Vancouver show that Canadian customs officials seized $13 million in undeclared cash from arriving Chinese emigrants and tourists from April 2011 to June 2012.

In July, meanwhile, China launched “Operation Fox Hunt” in an effort to locate and prosecute corrupt officials who have moved abroad. Beijing does not have an extradition treaty with Washington. “We face practical difficulties in getting fugitives who fled to the U.S. back to face trial, due to the lack of an extradition treaty and the complex and lengthy legal procedures,” Liao Jinrong, an official at China’s Ministry of Public Security, earlier told China Daily.
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Spanish PM Says Sorry for Corruption Scandal

Spanish PM Says Sorry for Corruption Scandal | Global Corruption |
A major corruption scandal involving politicians has prompted Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to apologize to Spaniards.

Rajoy said in Parliament on Tuesday that he understands public indignation over a police operation which has led to the arrest of more than 30 people on suspicion of corruption. Many of them were politicians in municipal and regional authorities who are accused of receiving bribes to grant public construction contracts. The arrests came in a police operation Monday.

In a rare public gesture, Rajoy said he apologized in the name of his governing Popular Party for having appointed officials to posts "they were unworthy of."

He vowed to clean up public life and asked Spaniards to keep their faith in the rule of law.
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INDIA: Modi Government cracks down on corruption: Six bank chiefs sacked

INDIA: Modi Government cracks down on corruption: Six bank chiefs sacked | Global Corruption |
In a major crackdown on corruption, the Centre has scraped appointment of the heads of six public sector banks. It is important to note that their selections were cleared by the previous UPA Government towards the end of its rule. The move is believed to be a follow up of the recent arrest of Syndicate Bank Chairman SK Jain under bribery charges.

Following this move, a fresh procedure for filling up the vacancies will commence soon and will be completed within a few weeks.

According to a Times of India report, complaints of favouritism in bank appointments have been there for some years now. With the arrest of Syndicate Bank Chairman and Managing Director SK Jain, the Centre resorted to take stern action by sacking the bank chiefs appointed by previous UPA regime. The report also says that five of the nine shortlisted candidates by the previous regime are said to have been under the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) scanner.
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Petrobras hires investigators in Brazil corruption case

Petrobras hires investigators in Brazil corruption case | Global Corruption |
Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras said it hired two independent private investigators to look into allegations of corruption that have tainted some associates of President Dilma Rousseff, who was re-elected over the weekend.

"Petrobras has signed contracts with two independent firms, one from Brazil and the other from the United States, specialized in investigation to look into the nature, extent and impact of the alleged misdeeds," the company said in a statement.

The oil company, whose shares are listed on the New York, Sao Paulo, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock exchanges, said the contracts were signed last Friday and Saturday.

The allegations, also under investigation by the Brazilian Federal Police and Congress, center on a corruption network embedded in Petrobras that charged extraordinary commissions on each of the state-controlled company's contracts and spread the money among political parties allied with Rousseff.

Some 30 politicians have been named by Petrobras's former supply director, Paulo Roberto Costa, and businessman Alberto Youssef, both arrested weeks ago and who have agreed to cooperate with authorities in exchange for a reduction of their sentences.
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Colombian pol sentenced to 14 years for corruption

Colombian pol sentenced to 14 years for corruption | Global Corruption |
Colombia's Supreme Court sentenced a former senator to 14 years in prison for collecting illegal commissions on public works projects.

Ivan Moreno Rojas was found guilty of influence-peddling and of using his official position to extort favors from government contractors, the high court said in a statement.

His brother, former Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno, is awaiting trial in the same case, which involves highway contracts awarded to the Nule conglomerate.

The top executives of the group, brothers Manuel and Miguel Nule and their cousin Guido, are also behind bars.

Ivan Moreno pressured Nule to give his wife, Lucy Luna, two prime parcels alongside the highway to construct service stations, the court found.

The then-senator also used his position to intimidate lower-ranking officials, according to the verdict.

The Colombian Inspector General's Office removed Samuel Moreno as mayor of Bogota in January 2012 for irregularities in the awarding of government contracts.

Prosecutors later charged both Moreno brothers with extracting millions of dollars in commissions from contractors.
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The Future of Fraud | WIRED

The Future of Fraud | WIRED | Global Corruption |
Over the past 10 years the nature of fraud has become more sophisticated and systematized. Gone are the days of the lone wolf hacker seeing what they could get away with. Today, those days seem almost simple. Not that I should be saying it, but fraud and the people who perpetrated it had a cavalier air about them, a bravado. It was as if they were saying, in the words of my good friend Frank Abagnale, “catch me if you can.”

They learned to mimic the behaviors and clone the devices of legitimate users. This allowed them to have a field day, attacking all sorts of businesses and syphoning away their ill-gotten gains. We learned too. We learned to look hard and close at the devices that attempted to access an account. We looked at things that no one knew could be seen. We learned to recognize all of the little parameters that together represented a device. We learned to notice when even one of them was off.

The days of those early fraudsters has faded. New forces are at work to perpetrate fraud on an industrial scale. Criminal enterprises have arisen. Specializations have emerged. Brute force attacks, social engineering, sophisticated malware – all these tools, and so many more – are being applied every day to cracking various security systems. The criminal underworld is awash in credentials, which are being used to create accounts, take over accounts and commit fraudulent transactions.

The impact is massive. Every year, billions of dollars are lost due to cyber crime. Aside from the direct monetary losses, customer lose faith in brand and businesses, resources need to be allocated to reviewing suspect transactions and creativity and energy are squandered trying to chase down new risks and threats.

To make life just a little simpler, I operate from the assumption that every account, every user name and every password has been compromised. As I said at the start, fraud isn’t something that can be prevented. By hook or by crook (and mainly by crook), fraudsters are finding cracks they can slip through; it’s bound to happen. By watching carefully, we can see when they slip up and stop them from getting away with their intended crimes.

If the earliest days of fraud saw impacts on individuals, and fraud today is impacting enterprises, the future of fraud is far more sinister.

We’re already seeing hints of fraud’s dark future.
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Georgia banker who faked own death gets 30 years' prison for fraud

Georgia banker who faked own death gets 30 years' prison for fraud | Global Corruption |
A former Georgia bank director who faked his own death and disappeared for 1-1/2 years while under suspicion of embezzling and losing millions of dollars was sentenced on Tuesday to 30 years in prison.

Aubrey Lee Price, 48, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield in Statesboro, Georgia, after pleading guilty in June to bank, wire and securities fraud.

Price was also ordered to forfeit $51 million and compensate the investors and clients who were his victims, many of whom were elderly.

Joshua Lowther, a lawyer for Price, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The defendant has been in custody since his Dec. 31, 2013 arrest during a routine traffic stop on near Brunswick, Georgia. He had been on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list.

Price once worked as a Baptist minister, and some former parishioners submitted letters to Edenfield pleading for leniency.

Prosecutors said Price lost much of the $21 million he embezzled from Montgomery Bank & Trust of Ailey, Georgia and hid his fraud by giving bogus account statements to bank officials. The bank failed soon after the defendant vanished in June 2012.

Price was also accused of raising $51 million from more than 100 investors for investment funds he managed and concealing subsequent losses with fake account statements.

Before disappearing, Price left letters hinting that he would commit suicide at sea and was last seen boarding a ferry in Key West, Florida. A judge later declared Price dead.

The sentence covers charges brought by U.S. Attorneys Edward Tarver in Savannah, Georgia and Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn, New York.

"Price engaged in a staggering betrayal of trust, leaving his elderly investors practically penniless, and at the same time, contributing to the collapse of a federally insured bank," Tarver said in a statement. "For his crimes, Price richly deserves the heavy sentence handed down today."
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Oil Driller to Pay $5M to Settle Bribery Allegations - CFO

Oil Driller to Pay $5M to Settle Bribery Allegations - CFO | Global Corruption |

Oil driller Layne Christensen Co. has agreed to pay about $5.1 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that it handed out more than $1 million in bribes to government officials in five African countries.

The SEC said Layne received about $3.9 million in unlawful benefits between 2005 and 2010, mostly from bribing officials in Mali, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to reduce its tax liability and avoid associated penalties for delinquent payment. The company self-reported potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act after an internal investigation.

“Layne’s lack of internal controls allowed improper payments to government officials in multiple countries to continue unabated for five years,” Kara Brockmeyer, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA unit, said in a news release.

During the internal investigation, the SEC noted, Layne terminated four employees — including the president and CFO of its mineral exploration division and the finance manager of its West African Drilling Services Sarl (WADS) subsidiary — “for their roles in the misconduct.”

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Georgia Banker Who Faked Death Gets 30 Years in Prison - NBC News

Georgia Banker Who Faked Death Gets 30 Years in Prison - NBC News | Global Corruption |
A former Georgia bank director who faked his own suicide two years ago to cover up the embezzlement of millions of dollars was sentenced on Tuesday to 30 years in jail. Aubrey Lee Price, 48 — who had been legally declared dead before being found alive last year — was given 360-month term by a Federal Judge in U.S. District Court in Statesboro, Georgia.

This past June, he pleaded guilty to bank, wire and securities fraud. Prosecutors say he misspent, embezzled and lost about $60 million dollars belonging both to private investors and the Montgomery Bank & Trust, which closed soon after Price went missing in June 2012.
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