Global Corruption
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Global Corruption
Corruption is a particularly viral form of cancer. It is caught here and there but it reappears somewhere else as soon as vigilance is relaxed. It is not eliminated, just driven underground. The corrupt merely suspend their operations temporarily. It lingers, hovering always in the background for its next opportunity.<br>                                                                         - Gerald E. Caiden <br>
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Ex-border inspector to be sentenced for corruption

Ex-border inspector to be sentenced for corruption | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

 Lorne Jones received praise from supervisors for seizing large loads of marijuana and other drugs during a long career as a U.S. border inspector. Now he faces a judge for helping smuggle drugs himself.

Jones faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Monday for conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States and attempted importation of marijuana. A jury convicted him in December after a two-week trial that included testimony from Mexican traffickers and another corrupt inspector who introduced Jones to a smuggler whom he married and divorced.

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U.S. Watchdog: Afghanistan on the Brink of Blacklisting - US News

U.S. Watchdog: Afghanistan on the Brink of Blacklisting - US News | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

 World powers are on the brink of blacklisting Afghanistan, further isolating the war-torn country and torpedoing its chances of ever joining the global marketplace, a top U.S. watchdog official said Thursday.

“At the end of this year, America’s longest war will come to an end,” said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. “The ongoing drawdown of U.S. troops will leave, at most, a few thousand for training and quick-response sanctions. The reconstruction mission, however, is far from over.”

Sopko heads a powerful organization established by Congress, known as SIGAR, to oversee the reconstruction in Afghanistan that runs simultaneously to the war and diplomatic efforts there. He points to the pernicious problem of corruption rooted in the Afghan system of government, propped up by the NATO countries involved in the fight.

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USA: Fraud probe loss tops $15 million - The News Desk

USA: Fraud probe loss tops $15 million - The News Desk | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Detectives have now identified about 45 people whose total losses exceeded $15 million in a case involving a local real estate investor under investigation for fraud.

Fredericksburg Police Department Detective Wayne Hunnicutt met with an FBI agent Friday afternoon to discuss the investigation involving longtime area resident James Ashby Moncure.

Moncure, 41, is being investigated on claims that he borrowed money from people and did not use the funds for the stated purpose of making real estate investments in the area. On March 4, he sent a long email to noteholders indicating that he would not be able to repay the promissory notes despite his original good intentions.

Since the email went out, Fredericksburg police and the FBI have been jointly investigating the case under code sections involving obtaining money by false pretense and securities fraud. The FBI has assigned an agent from its Richmond division.

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USA: Spate of Corruption Stains Otherwise Thriving DC

USA: Spate of Corruption Stains Otherwise Thriving DC | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Mayor Vincent Gray often calls the District of Columbia "the envy of the nation" for its robust economy and fast-growing population, but some say the local government he leads — plagued by corruption, pay-to-play politics and disengaged voters — is a stain on the city's progress.

The latest bruise to the city's reputation involves Gray, who is under federal investigation. Prosecutors say he knew about a $668,000 campaign slush fund that helped him get elected in 2010, and while Gray has not been charged, five people involved with his campaign have been convicted. Separately, three former members of the D.C. Council have pleaded guilty to felonies, including bribery and embezzlement, in less than 2 ½ years.

The district is far from unique among cities that have suffered through a spate of criminal activity, alleged or otherwise, but the recent crimes are unprecedented for the local government.

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Texas Bakery Controller Cooked Books for $16M

Texas Bakery Controller Cooked Books for $16M | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
ABC News’ Ryan Owens, Robyn Weil  and Joshua Hoyos report: The former head honcho of accounting at a well-known Texas bakery is accused of taking a huge and illegal piece of the pie. A federal grand jury indicted Sandy Jenkins on charges he embezzled more than $16 million over 8 years. Prosecutors say Jenkins supplemented his $50,000 yearly salary by stealing bakery funds and using that extra dough to live a life of luxury with his wife, Kay, who has also been charged in this indictment. From private trips on jets and a $700,000 vacation home to a Mercedes and…
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Charmian Gooch’s TED Talk: To stop corruption in business we need to know who’s controlling the companies

Charmian Gooch’s TED Talk: To stop corruption in business we need to know who’s controlling the companies | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Anonymous companies protect corrupt individuals behind a shroud of mystery that makes it almost impossible to find the people responsible for certain crimes. But anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch hopes to change all that. At TED2014, she shares her brave TED Prize wish: to know who owns and controls companies, to change the law, and to launch a new era of openness in business. This video is a co-premiere between TED and The Globe and Mail. Join the conversation on Twitter with #GlobeTED. Find more from the series at tgam.ca/globe-debate.
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Corruption Report Against South Africa President Prompts Impeachment Calls

Corruption Report Against South Africa President Prompts Impeachment Calls | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

South Africa's top anti-corruption official has found that President Jacob Zuma "benefited unduly" from government money spent to improve his personal home. She is calling for Zuma to pay back some of the nearly $23 million (R246 million) - but the opposition and some ordinary citizens are calling for something more: impeachment.

With just seven weeks to go before national elections, South African President Jacob Zuma should be canvassing for votes for his ruling African National Congress party.

Instead, in the wake of a damning report by the nation’s anti-corruption czar, he’s fending off calls for him to resign.

This week, South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a 400-page report that said Zuma committed an ethical lapse by allowing about $23 million in state money to be spent on what were described as security upgrades to his private home in rural KwaZulu-Natal province.

Madonsela said the upgrades - which included a swimming pool, a cattle enclosure, a visitors’ center and an amphitheater - went beyond what was reasonably required for a president’s security.

She also said some of the upgrades could be “legitimately classified as unlawful” and ordered him to repay some of the costs..

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New Afghan leaders must root out corruption: US watchdog

New Afghan leaders must root out corruption: US watchdog | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Next month's Afghan elections provide a unique chance to usher in a new leadership capable of weeding out systemic corruption threatening to undermine the country's future, a top US official said Thursday.

America has poured some $102 billion into Afghanistan since invading the country in 2001 to throw out the hardline Taliban militants.

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan John Sopko termed it "spending on steroids" triggered by the war effort, but criticized the lack of proper audits and oversight, saying "we don't even know what we spent, where we spent it, 12 years into this."

The billions of dollars spent on the impoverished country has allowed corruption to flourish amid a weak and overwhelmed government, he told the Atlantic Council think tank.

"Allowing corruption to continue unabated will likely jeopardize every gain we have made over the last 12 years. In other words, rampant corruption may be the spoiler for 2014 and beyond," Sopko warned.

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'Corruption in Finance Ministry cause of sanctions on Sudan': Adel Abdel Aziz | Radio Dabanga

'Corruption in Finance Ministry cause of sanctions on Sudan': Adel Abdel Aziz | Radio Dabanga | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for Sudan being in the list of most corrupt countries in the world, according to the director general of Economic Development and Consumer Protection Affairs in Khartoum.

Adel Abdel Aziz accused the Ministry of Finance of “failing to control funds in their legal channels, administrative idleness. It exploits political power in the establishment of tenders, bribery, royalties, and allocation of lands.”

He has attributed the sanctions on Sudan by the United States, the confiscation of assets, and the denial of the use of the US dollar as a global currency in Sudan's banking sector to the corruption of employees and customers in the Ministry.

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TED Prize Winner Charmian Gooch Announces Global Campaign to Abolish Anonymous Companies

TED Prize Winner Charmian Gooch Announces Global Campaign to Abolish Anonymous Companies | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

This year’s TED Prize winner – Charmian Gooch of Global Witness – has announced that she will use the prestigious million-dollar award “to make it impossible for criminals and corrupt dictators to hide behind anonymous companies.” The announcement was made live and online from the TED stage in Vancouver, with support from leading members of the business, political, law enforcement and campaigning community.

Delivering a powerful talk, Charmian described the abuse of anonymous companies as a “devastating problem that spans the globe…negatively affecting all of us.” Describing the ease with which people can hide their identities behind anonymous companies, Gooch recounted harrowing tales of the impact of this problem, particularly on some of the poorest people in the world. She called on leaders around the globe to make a simple commitment “to enact laws to create public registries which list the true owners of companies, and that can be accessed by all – with no loopholes.”

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China corruption drive goes after 'guzzling' officials

China corruption drive goes after 'guzzling' officials | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

China's officials may need to tighten their belts after authorities ordered official canteens to serve "smaller portions" in a crackdown on over-indulgence, the Xinhua state news agency reported.

The government has been on a drive against official corruption and excess, which has seen gift-giving, banquets and the fiery liquor baijiu come under the spotlight. The aim is to calm public anger over graft and extravagance by some officials.

"Authorities are not allowed to organize banquets or guzzle under the name of convening meetings and training," Xinhua said late on Tuesday, citing a government circular.

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Corruption-busting Global Witness wins $1m TED Prize (Wired UK)

Corruption-busting Global Witness wins $1m TED Prize (Wired UK) | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

This year's $1 million (£600,000) TED Prize will fund a global campaign to make company ownership transparent and accountable...

 

Activist Charmian Gooch won the prize for her work with Global Witness, a London-based non-profit she cofounded in 1993 to investigate and uncover corruption. She told the TED conference in Vancouver on Tuesday that the prize will be used "to create the first-ever prototype of a public registry for collecting and publishing critical information on who ultimately owns a company. This prototype will serve as a guide for governments that want to end anonymous companies".

Secret company ownership is "a scandal of epic proportions that's hidden in plain sight," Gooch said. She intends to campaign to "change the law and launch a new era of openness in business". Anonymous shell companies that allow owners to evade detection are used by drug cartels, corrupt leaders and Italian mafiosi, she said. They were implicated in Europe's recent horsemeat scandal, in the Buenos Aires nightclub fire in December 2004 in which 194 people died, and in the property dealings of Ukraine's former leader.

"London is one of the best places in the world to do it," she said in her TED talk. "America too -- in Delaware, you need less ID [to set up a shell company] than to get a library card: in ten minutes online you can create one."

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Public Service

Public Service | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
Sri Lanka needs 'broad based radical reform' of the public service to combat corruption and end a process where competitive tendering for state projects has become an exception, a legislator said.Opposition United National Party legislator says awarding contracts without competitive bidding has become a cancerous epidemic which was preying on citizens, who will have to bear the burden of inflated infrastructure contracted dished out with borrowed money.

De Silva said he could not accept a statement by Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera that large state contracts could not be awarded with competitive bidding.

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Ukraine: state energy company boss reportedly detained in corruption probe

Ukraine: state energy company boss reportedly detained in corruption probe | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The boss of Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz has reportedly been detained in connection with a corruption investigation.

Yevhen Bakulin took up the chief executive job in 2010 under ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.

Naftogaz has declined to comment on his alleged detention.

Police are said to be carrying out three separate probes into suspected corruption in the gas industry – that may have cost the Ukrainian state billions of euros.

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USA: Deephaven couple with yacht, luxury lake home charged with welfare fraud

USA: Deephaven couple with yacht, luxury lake home charged with welfare fraud | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Andrea and Colin Chisholm struggled financially for a decade, depending on welfare checks to pay for food and medical bills and for job training. They and their young son were forced to live with Andrea’s mother in southMinneapolis, and at one point had as little as $80 to their name.

At least, that’s what they led benefit workers to believe. In reality, authorities say, the Chisholms were living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

On public assistance forms they filled out yearly, they forgot to mention their $1.2 million yacht docked in Florida, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday as he announced welfare fraud charges against the couple. Or the $1.6 million house they rented on Lake Minnetonka. And that Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pedigree breeding business that produced an award-winning dog at the Westminster dog show.

Oh, and the Chisholms also had about $3 million tucked away in various bank accounts, the charges say.

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A Cautionary Note on the "World Anticorruption Police"

A Cautionary Note on the "World Anticorruption Police" | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

In an Op-Ed in the New York Times this past Wednesday, Alexander Lebedev, former KGB officer and current owner of the Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta, calls for “an international body to police corruption.” Lebedev astutely describes how “international banks, law firms and accountants” make it far too easy to hide the proceeds of corrupt activities, and far too difficult to bring the perpetrators to justice.  Yet his proposed solution–an international anticorruption police force–is likely to have costs that far outweigh whatever benefits it may have.

The numbers Lebedev cites are jarring: $30 trillion “embezzled” by “crooked business people, working with corrupt officials” over the last 15 years; $4 trillion disappeared from China over the past decade; another $1 trillion from Russia. Putting aside the questions of whether the sources of these numbers are accurate – the report from which Lebedev gets his $30 trillion figure says $30 trillion had been invested “virtually tax free,” but it never uses the word embezzlement – there is a real threat that corrupt actors will hide the proceeds of corruption and evade justice. Lebedev is also right that anticorruption enforcers are often stymied by the ease with which banks, law firms, and accountants can move money from one jurisdiction to another, particularly anticorruption enforcers from countries with limited resources.

 
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IRS monitor: $1 million phone scam 'largest ever'

IRS monitor: $1 million phone scam 'largest ever' | Global Corruption | Scoop.it
If the phone rings and the caller says he represents the IRS, be suspicious.

That's the warning from federal authorities, who on Thursday said a nationwide phone scam has stolen $1 million from thousands of unsuspecting people.

The impostor claims to be an Internal Revenue Service representative and tells "intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," an IRS inspector general office said.

"The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license."

The IRS has received more than 20,000 reports about the scam.

J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, called it "the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen."

According to the inspector general, IRS officials typically first reach out by mail rather than phone, and don't demand immediate payment by debit card, credit card or wire transfer.

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By abolishing anonymous companies, we can prevent exploitation

By abolishing anonymous companies, we can prevent exploitation | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Ending anonymity would ensure that millions of the world’s poorest people no longer suffer, and instead actually benefit from their countries’ natural resources...

 

There are hundreds of other examples, but the ones that stand out for me include the British Virgin Islands companies used to conceal true ownership in the sale of cobalt and copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a deception that resulted in citizens losing out on at least $1.3-billion. California and British Virgin Islands companies were also used by the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president to buy a $30-million home in Malibu and a Gulfstream jet – this is a man who was on an official salary of $7,000 a month.

At the organization I co-founded, Global Witness, we focus on resource-rich countries trapped in conflict and poverty. We started on the Thai-Cambodia border gathering evidence to prove that illegal logging was funding the Khmer Rouge. We brought the world’s attention to ‘blood diamonds’ – and now we seek to expose the global networks that fuel corruption and conflict.

While conducting our investigations, we’ve noticed some patterns, especially the use of anonymous companies which are used to enable people to bank dirty money secretly. The World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development say that almost every economic crime and most major corruption cases rely on the use of anonymous companies.

And where are these anonymous companies usually found? Tropical tax havens, you say? Remote African capitals? Think again. The most popular place chosen by the corrupt to incorporate anonymously is the United States, followed by the UK’s overseas territory, the British Virgin Islands. Remarkably, in some U.S. states, you need less identification to set up a company than to get a library card. American anonymous companies have been used by Serbian drug traffickers, arms traffickers in Africa, and Iranian sanctions-busters.

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Rep. Luis Gutierrez faces House ethics review

Rep. Luis Gutierrez faces House ethics review | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The House Ethics Committee launched a review Thursday of potential misconduct by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., and his longtime employment of a Chicago lobbyist in his congressional office, disclosed last year by USA TODAY.

In June, USA TODAY reported that Gutiérrez had paid a Chicago lobbyist more than $500,000 in taxpayer funds to work side by side with his congressional staff for a decade. The lobbyist, Doug Scofield, earned several thousand dollars a month as a paid contractor to train staff and help craft news releases among other functions.

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PHILIPPINES: Gov't releases P600M for anti-corruption IT system

PHILIPPINES:  Gov't releases P600M for anti-corruption IT system | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The budget department said on Thursday, March 20, it released P600 million for the administration's anti-corruption information technology (IT) system.

The Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), is an online application that integrates all public financial management processes of the government.

The Web application will be integrating processes – such as accounting, cash management, reporting and auditing – performed by the 3 major oversight agencies of the government: the Department of Budget and Management, the Commission on Audit, and the Department of Finance-Bureau of Treasury (DOF-BTr).

"Because it’s Web-based and updated in real time, all data in the system are easily tracked to ensure the integrity of our public financial management processes," Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

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Pastor Turns Himself in on Larceny Charge

Pastor Turns Himself in on Larceny Charge | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The pastor of the Stratford Baptist Church has been arrested, charged with stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly parishioner.

Robert Genevicz, 67, has been charged with first-degree larceny and turned himself in to police on Tuesday. He has been released on a $50,000 bond.

Police launched an investigation into Genevicz in May 2013 after more than $170,000 disappeared from the account of a parishioner. Genevicz had been appointed power of attorney and then conservator for the elderly woman.

Attorney Joseph Mager, the victim's current conservator, said the investigation started when a probate judge noticed inconsistencies in Genevicz's financial reporting and a forensic accountant studied the transactions.

“After an evidentiary hearing, a probate judge had ordered that $103,000 was missing from the estate,” Mager said.

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No surprise: Convicts, accused fraudsters run for office in Illinois

No surprise: Convicts, accused fraudsters run for office in Illinois | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

Democratic public office hopefuls in President Obama's political backyard include a former Chicago pol sentenced to 28 months for bribery and tax fraud, and two more facing trial on bribery and bank fraud charges..

 

A former Chicago alderman left prison in 2012 after serving 28 months for bribery and tax fraud, and is running for Cook County commissionerHis father, also a former Chicago alderman, once did his own stretch of prison time for corruption
A state representative faces bank fraud charges, and is running, unopposed, for the nomination to keep his seatAnother state lawmaker is accused of taking a $7,000 bribe, and has already been expelled from the legislature once – but was re-elected
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SOUTH AFRICA: Goldrich Faces Fraud Allegation as NUM Draws Aurora Parallel

SOUTH AFRICA: Goldrich Faces Fraud Allegation as NUM Draws Aurora Parallel | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

An auditor has alerted South Africa’s tax agency to alleged fraud at Goldrich Holdings (Pty) Ltd., a mine operator whose chairman is already being personally sued following the collapse of Aurora Empowerment Systems Ltd., a similar company.

Mahier Tayob, a forensic auditor working for Goldrich, alleged that fraudulent transactions and money laundering occurred at Goldrich, in an affidavit filed to the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, and dated March 10. Goldrich Chairman Thulani Ngubane and Director Bonginkosi Mthethwa denied the allegations in telephone interviews.

Goldrich agreed to operate the 72-year-old Blyvooruitzicht gold mine, 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Johannesburg, in January after it was put into liquidation last year. The fraud and money laundering allegations appeared in an affidavit filed by Tayob in response to an effort by Harvard Corporate Recovery Services, Blyvooruitzicht’s liquidator, to remove Goldrich from the mine because it hasn’t made the site secure and started mining, said Leigh Roering, a director at HCRS.

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Federal corruption watchdog needed: Milne

Federal corruption watchdog needed: Milne | Global Corruption | Scoop.it

The Australian Greens have stepped up calls for a national corruption watchdog after Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos was enmeshed in a NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

The ICAC inquiry has heard Senator Sinodinos - who in 2008 was NSW Liberal Party treasurer and a member of the board of Australian Water Holdings - stood to gain tens of millions of dollars if the deal between the privately-held AWH and state-owned Sydney Water went through.

The Senate spent Wednesday morning debating whether he should explain inconsistencies between a statement he gave to parliament in 2013 and evidence heard at the corruption inquiry.

Australian Greens senator Christine Milne told reporters it was not a good use of the Senate's time for the government to be running a "protection racket" for the minister.

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