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.
- Gerald E. Caiden
Curated by Jim Wesberry
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Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services Announce Over $27.8 Billion in Returns from Joint Efforts to Combat Health Care Fraud - US Department of Justice

Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services Announce Over $27.8 Billion in Returns from Joint Efforts to Combat Health Care Fraud - US Department of Justice | Global Corruption |
More than $27.8 billion has been returned to the Medicare Trust Fund over the life of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) Program, Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today.  The government’s health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recovered $3.3 billion in taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 from individuals and companies who attempted to defraud federal health programs, including programs serving seniors, persons with disabilities or those with low incomes.  For every dollar spent on health care-related fraud and abuse investigations in the last three years, the administration recovered $7.70.  This is about $2 higher than the average return on investment in the HCFAC program since it was created in 1997.  It is also the third highest return on investment in the life of the program. 

“As the innovative and collaborative work of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program proceeds, more taxpayer money is being recovered, more criminals are facing justice, and more fraud is being punished, prevented and deterred,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “The extraordinary return on investment we've obtained speaks to the skill, the tenacity, and the inspiring success of the hardworking men and women fighting on behalf of the American people.  And with these outstanding results, we are sending the unmistakable message that we will not waver in our mission to pursue fraud, to protect vulnerable communities, and to preserve the public trust.”

“Eliminating fraud, waste and abuse is a top priority for the Department of Health and Human Services,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.  “These impressive recoveries for the American taxpayer demonstrate our continued commitment to this goal and highlight our efforts to prosecute the most egregious instances of health care fraud and prevent future fraud and abuse.  New enrollment screening techniques and computer analytics are preventing fraud before money ever goes out the door.  And together with the continued support of Congress and our partners at the Department of Justice, we’ve cracked down on tens of thousands health care providers suspected of Medicare fraud – all of which are helping to extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.”

The recoveries announced today reflect a two-pronged strategy to combat fraud and abuse.  Under new authorities granted by the Affordable Care Act, the administration continues to implement programs that move away from “pay and chase” to preventing health care fraud and abuse in the first place.  In addition, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), run jointly by the HHS Office of the Inspector General and the Justice Department, is changing how the federal government fights certain types of health care fraud.  These cases are being investigated through "real-time" data analysis in lieu of a prolonged subpoena and account analyses, resulting in significantly shorter periods of time between fraud identification, arrest and prosecution.
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Corruption Currents: Dilma’s War on Corruption

Corruption Currents: Dilma’s War on Corruption | Global Corruption |

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff declared war on corruption amid the Petrobras scPBR -7.07%andal, unveiling a package of new anti-graft measures. (Reuters, LA Times, AP)

A deep look at SNC-Lavalin 'sSNCAF +2.74% fallen star, Richard Ben-Aissa, is here. (Financial Post)

Richard Bistrong is interviewed by the publisher of CCI. The FCPAmericas blog explains U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. Mike Volkov has a pet peeve. Tom Fox continues a series on SEC enforcement of the FCPA. The FCPAProfessor reacts to the extension of Biomet’s settlement. The FCPA Blog looks at oversight in Rio.


A Chinese military organization formally acknowledged that Beijing’s military and intelligence community have units for attacking computer networks. (Daily Beast)

The cyber bills in Congress are starting to multiply. Privacy advocates aren’t happy about the amendments to the Senate’s bill. (The Hill, National Journal, The Hill)

Germany’s vice chancellor said the U.S. threatened Berlin over a potential asylum offer to Edward Snowden. (The Intercept)

The convicted Silk Road operator told his mom: A life sentence is a death sentence. (Al Jazeera)

Operators of a darknet enterprise made off with $12 million worth of bitcoin in what is being called an “exit scam.” (Guardian)
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Weak end at Bernie’s: Reform withers six years after massive Madoff fraud | Al Jazeera America

Weak end at Bernie’s: Reform withers six years after massive Madoff fraud | Al Jazeera America | Global Corruption |
Six years ago on Thursday, Bernard Madoff was arrested over the longest, largest and arguably one of the most brazen financial scams in history. By the time investigators caught up with him, the silver-haired fraudster had bilked investors to the tune of $65 billion.

Madoff is now behind bars, serving out what he can of a 150-year sentence. Meanwhile, efforts to make sure others can’t repeat his crime have similarly languished.

In the years since his indictment, legislation to protect Main Street investors’ savings and retirement accounts has failed to move through Congress.

Attempts have been made. On Capitol Hill, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., are the sponsors of bills to provide an additional level of insurance against Madoff-type fraud. The laws are designed to restore financial confidence across the board, from pensioners to charities, yet they are stuck at the committee level.

That has disappointed many of those who lost money when Madoff’s giant Ponzi scheme collapsed.

“Our government made a pledge to every investor that this is a regulated industry and that we will be there for you to protect you from these kind of frauds,” said former Navy electrician Michael DeVita, who postponed retirement after his entire life savings evaporated at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. “But the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] is either incompetent or a complete, total failure.”

Advocacy groups like the Network for Investor Action and Protection (NIAP) have recommended stricter punishments for the perpetrators of white-collar crime, support guarantees for the victims and prevention of future fraud. 

“We’re not just dealing with Madoff here. This is a national issue,” said NIAP President Ron Stein, adding that there is “truly bipartisan support” to push legislation forward in the 114th Congress.

“But the House bill is bottlenecked in the Financial Services Committee by Jeb Hensarling [R-Texas],” Stein said. “It’s unclear why the chairman has gone against his promise of giving it serious attention. It’s very, very frustrating.” Neither Hensarling’s office nor committee staff would comment on the issue.
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"In God We Trust" - The Madoff Ponzi Movie Trailer

Eleanor Squillari went to work every day believing she was working for a great company, a great man. For twenty-five years she sat 15 feet from Bernard L. Madoff as his personal secretary. She never imagined that he was perpetrating the largest financial crime in history. On December 11th, 2008, her life as she knew it was destroyed…until she decided to do something about it. 

She became obsessed with unearthing the truth. Through this film we experience this journey with Eleanor, as she examines how she unwittingly participated in the massive Ponzi scheme, which operated right under her nose. Years of Eleanor's files and personal memories begin to unwind the crimes as she aids the FBI investigation, and struggles to determine which of her formerly trusted co-workers were involved. As she probes deeper into the deceit, Eleanor finds that Bernie's Ponzi scheme was only the beginning, a small fraction of the criminal activity that took place everyday for decades, right under her nose.

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Daily Corruption News: 19 March 2015

Daily Corruption News: 19 March 2015 | Global Corruption |

Kenya: 'Corruption has opened door to al-Shabaab in Kenya'
The Guardian

After 12 years of scandal anti-corruption authorities in Kenya have finally brought charges against key people allegedly involved in what has become known as one of the country’s biggest corruption cases.

Global: Increase in antibiotic-resistant infections linked to government corruption, study finds

Global: More corruption today than 20 years ago
Jamaica Observer (TI mention)

China: China indicts former oil boss on corruption charges
Associated Press

Italy: Italy minister may quit on Friday over graft scandal: sources

Ukraine: Theft of Ukraine’s ‘golden loaf’ reflects the revolution’s failings

US: Poll: New York elected officials should disclose outside jobs, money, voters say
Wall Street Journal

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The Mounting Global Challenges of Rampant Corruption - Frank Vogl

The Mounting Global Challenges of Rampant Corruption - Frank Vogl | Global Corruption |
Multiple major corruption crises are splashing across the front pages of newspapers across the globe. Taken together, these crises are contributing to global insecurity and to financial and economic instability, while they are challenging freedom and democracy in many countries.

The individual cases of grand corruption involving political leaders are reported case by case. The dangerous mega-impact, however, is only really evident by looking at the crises in combination.

On security, the extraordinary levels of corruption that pervade every aspect of government and business life in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Nigeria today, have critically undermined the influence of the governments in these countries and their ability to secure peace and fight terrorism. These crises are damaging global security.

Linking corruption to insecurity

The core relationships between corruption and insecurity are increasingly being reported and analyzed by government officials, such as the U.S. Inspector General for Afghanistan; by non-governmental organizations, such as Global Witness and Transparency International, and by scholars, notably a new book by Sarah Chayes of the Carnegie Endowment entitled “Thieves of State.”

Then, while corruption is not the major cause, it is contributing substantially to the slow-down in growth in a number of economies, for example, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece and South Africa. The bottom line is that the problems in these countries are combining to weaken global growth.

Let me explain with a few examples. The security and economic challenges in and around Ukraine are complicated by the continuing massive corruption across the country. The country is bankrupt, largely due to theft by the previous regime.
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Was North Carolina Used as an Ecuadorean Money-Laundering Hub?

The story begins in December 2011 when Argentine businessman Gaston Duzac touched down in Ecuador to collect a highly irregular $800,000 loan from a local state-owned bank called Cofiec. The stated intent of this credit line was to create a so-called "mobile payment" system.

At the time, an Ecuador public trust called Fideicomiso AGD managed hundreds of firms seized by the Ecuadorean government, including the Cofiec Bank. This public trust was presided by Pedro Delgado, who was also Ecuador's central bank chief and cousin to President Rafael Correa.

The existence of the irregular credit came to light in Ecuador by mid-2012, spurring a swirl of controversy in Quito.

Not least of which was the controversial discovery that Iran made suspicious cash deposits in the Cofiec Bank, at a time when the West heavily sanctioned the Islamic Republic. Moreover, several internal memorandums were uncovered by Ecuador's press that indicated an intent to sell Cofiec to a major Iranian banking establishment. These developments, led many to speculate that Ecuador had become a hub for Iran to launder its sanctioned funds and evade international scrutiny.

Delgado, Duzac and Cofiec were featured on the front pages of daily Ecuadorean newspapers for months. Yet, this exposure did not stop the schemes, but rather motivated President Correa to further dictatorial-like powers over the media and judiciary in order to protect his cousin and associates.

The added exposure did, however, reveal another minor detail -- that Pedro Delgado falsified his degree in economics year's prior. It was this revelation that forced Delgado to resign as president of the Central Bank on December 20, 2012. That same day, Delgado packed his bags and grabbed his diplomatic passport, which the government had mysteriously decided not to cancel, and traveled to Miami to attend his son's wedding. Delgado's hasty exit was permitted with the promise of his return to Ecuador to surrender to the authorities for ongoing investigations into the Cofiec case.

Two years later, Delgado never returned to Ecuador and is still in Miami, while Duzac is back in Argentina and the so-called "mobile payment system" was never established. Most importantly, the aforementioned $800k loan is missing and unaccounted for.
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Daily Corruption News: 17 March 2015

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka probes past bond auctions amid graft allegations

Sri Lanka has launched a probe into allegations of corruption in government bond sales held by the central bank since 2012, the prime minister said on Tuesday, after opposition parties called for an independent investigation into a February bond auction.


Global: Switzerland returns $380 million in Abacha money to Nigeria
Associated Press

China: PetroChina Vice-Chairman Liao Yongyuan in corruption probe

Romania: Romanian anti-corruption official quits after bribe probe
Associated Press

Senegal: Senegalese arrest lawyer of ex-president's son, on trial for corruption, as tensions mount
Associated Press

Tajikistan: Tajik president appoints son to head anticorruption agency
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

US: New York Attorney General calls for tighter rules for lawmakers
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Romanian anti-corruption chief arrested on corruption charges

Romanian anti-corruption chief arrested on corruption charges | Global Corruption |
The head of an EU-backed anti-corruption agency in Romania has been arrested by Romanian police investigating a possible property scam.
Horia Georgescu, director of Romania’s National Integrity Agency, was picked up and questioned by officers of the country’s national anti-Corruption department, in an operation that once again shined the spotlight on the central European state’s struggle with corruption.
Classified as one of the EU’s most corrupt states, Romania has come under intense pressure from Brussels to crack down on a problem that has bedevilled it since the fall of communism in 1989, and undermined the credibility of state and public institutions.
The country is still subject to special monitoring by the European Commission to check its progress in the fight in against corruption.
Mr Georgescu was detained on suspicion of overvaluing property seized by the communist government before it was returned to its previous owners. The alleged crimes were committed in 2008 to 2009 when he was on the committee for National Authority for Property Restitution, and they may have defrauded the state of some £54 million.
Following his arrest the 38-year-old Mr Georgescu resigned from the agency, with his lawyers explaining he wanted to avoid its reputation being tarnished by the investigation. They also stated their client was innocent of any crime.
Set up in 2007 the agency checks the assets of politicians and public officials for discrepancies in their declarations and possible conflicts of interest.
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CBC My Region - UPAC makes 8th arrest in Revenue Quebec alleged contract fraud

CBC My Region - UPAC makes 8th arrest in Revenue Quebec alleged contract fraud | Global Corruption |
Quebec’s anti-corruption unit has made an eighth arrest in its investigation into a multi-million dollar IT contract put to tender by Revenue Quebec. 

Seven employees from Revenue Quebec, IBM and Informatique EBR were arrested last week in connection with the same investigation.

The government employees stand accused of providing privileged information about an upcoming $24-million contract to a consortium made up of IBM and Quebec company Informatique EBR Inc.

UPAC officials allege the companies then used that information to design their bid before the public call for tenders was launched.

The contract in question involved supplying the technology for a Revenue Quebec data management system. 

UPAC confirmed Monday that Daniel Letourneau, the final suspect sought in the investigation, had been arrested.

Letourneau, who works for IBM, faces charges of fraud, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit fraud.
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PHILIPPINES: Ombudsman hits Mayor Binay’s ‘hakot’ system, stands firm on suspension

PHILIPPINES:  Ombudsman hits Mayor Binay’s ‘hakot’ system, stands firm on suspension | Global Corruption |

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday insisted on the imposition of their preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Junjun Binay as he faced a malversation probe, saying the temporary restraining order (TRO) Binay secured from the court was moot and academic.

The Ombudsman also scored Binay’s so-called “hakot” system, or practice of gathering and paying off people to camp out to support a politician during times of political turmoil.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
With so-called supporters on his back, Mayor Binay, the son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, has defied the six-month suspension order as he holed himself up at the Makati City Hall before the issuance of the TRO.

“Ombudsman Morales denounces the alarming practice of suspended public officials encouraging the massing of people who obstruct or hinder the proper exercise of the functions of the office,” Morales’ statement read.

Morales also said the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals resolution granting Binay’s request for a TRO was “silent” on what it seeks to restrain.

Morales said long before the TRO was granted, the Department of Interior and Local Government was already able to serve the suspension order against Binay.

The Ombudsman also said Mayor Binay’s replacement Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. had already been sworn in as acting Makati mayor before the issuance of a TRO.

The Ombudsman has yet to receive a copy of the TRO, but it has received a copy of the resolution granting Binay’s request.

In the DILG’s Compliance Report submitted by DILG NCR Director Renato Brion to the Ombudsman, the DILG served the suspension order around 8:30 a.m. on March 16, while Peña was sworn in 9:47 a.m.
Binay was suspended from office as he may use his position to frustrate witnesses or tamper with evidence, the Ombudsman said.

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Corruption Currents: A Million Protesters in Brazil

Corruption Currents: A Million Protesters in Brazil | Global Corruption |

Could demand side prosecutions of foreign bribery deter companies from disclosure? (GAB)

The SEC plans to look closer at internal compliance issues in FCPA cases. More broadly, the SEC wants sinners to confess. (Pensions&Investments, NY Times)

The governor of Russian island Sakhalin was charged with bribery. He declared his innocence at a pretrial hearing. (Reuters)

A disgraced Chinese military leader bought his way to the top, Chinese media reported. (WantChina Times)


An Australian man pleaded guilty to U.S. drug and money laundering charges stemming from his role as a staff member of Silk Road. He admitted to helping run the site’s forum, and faces life in prison. (Reuters, Bloomberg, BBC, Ars Technica)

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange warned that its efforts to fend off hackers could reverse the momentum towards ever-faster markets. (Financial Times)

Companies are turning to insurance for help with facing the rise of cyberattacks. Law firms are doing the same. (WNYC,

The U.S. State Department shut down some of its email system to get rid of malware. (ABC News, The Hill)

A former U.S. official said China has hacked every major corporation in the U.S. (CNN)


An art scandal is threatening to expose widespread fraud in the market. (CNBC, NY Daily News)

Money Laundering:

The CEO of Andorran lender Banca Privada d’Andorra was arrested on suspicion of money laundering. He couldn’t be reached. (Reuters)

The Swiss parliament is annoyed about the HSBC Holdings PLC scandal. (SwissInfo)

Why is Andorra serving as a conduit for international money laundering? (CNN, Newsweek)

What can be done to prevent future cases like Commerzbank 's? (Global Witness)

The FATF rated Namibia highly on its anti-money laundering rules. (New Era)

A Panamanian law firm is allegedly up to its old tricks. (Vice)


The latest round of negotiations with Iran continues this week. A look at the obstacles to striking a deal is here. The White House warned the Senate over the weekend, telling senators to back off threats to a deal but Democrats may buck the president. (Washington Post, NY Times, Huffington Post, Politico)

Details of the Israeli premier’s efforts to scuttle a deal with Iran are leaking out. (Time)

Breaking up sanctions regimes is hard to do. (Foreign Policy)

Air travel is a headache in Iran, due in part to sanctions. (IranWire)

Terrorism Financing:

CIA payments to the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan were commingled with other funds to pay a ransom for a hostage held by al Qaeda. (NY Times)

General Anti-Corruption:

More than a million protesters took to the streets of Brazil on Sunday, calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff amid economic struggles and the Petrobras corruption scandal. (Financial Times, NY Times,

Trinity Mirror faces possible corporate charges in its own phone hacking scandal. The company has admitted and apologized for misconduct. (Guardian)

The son of Iran’s former president received three jail sentences totaling 15 years in prison on corruption and security charges. (Reuters, AFP)

New Zealand used U.S. NSA tools to spy on an anti-corruption activist. (The Intercept)

Border graft costs Afghanistan a quarter of its budget. (Medium)

Anti-corruption parties are shaking up Spanish politics. (BBC)

Pope Francis’ financial reforms, in part to battle corruption, are rattling the Vatican’s old guard. (NPR)

“The Daily Show” targeted New Jersey corruption.
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Financial Fraud Scheme in Hollywood

Financial Fraud Scheme in Hollywood | Global Corruption |
The owners of Gigapix Studios told investors they had a sure thing: They were going to make an animated version of the Wizard of Oz called OZ3D, and those who got in on the ground floor—and the company’s imminent public offering—could make a killing.

Unfortunately, the film was a bigger fairy tale than investors bargained for, and approximately 730 people lost millions of dollars. For some, the investment represented their life savings.

“Potential investors were told, ‘You’re going to make so much money that your kids and grandkids won’t want for anything,’” said Special Agent Eric Potocek, who investigated the case out of our Los Angeles Division. “In the end, the movie was never made, and it is unlikely investors will ever get anything back.”

Between the film and the impending public offering, the two principal fraudsters behind Los Angeles-based Gigapix raised some $21 million over a seven-year period beginning in 2006. Of the $8 million raised for the movie, only 5 percent of that amount went toward actually producing a film. The rest was used to pay big salaries, commissions, overhead for a fancy office, and other expenses.

Christopher Blauvelt, 59, and David Pritchard, 67, were convicted in 2014 on a series of federal charges including mail fraud, wire fraud, and offering unregistered securities for sale. Last month, Blauvelt was sentenced to eight years in prison, and Pritchard received a five-year term.

Blauvelt founded Gigapix in 2002 and brought Pritchard on as a partner four years later. The two hired telemarketers to solicit potential investors, who were told that Gigapix was a blockbuster animation company waiting to happen—similar to Pixar Animation Studios—and that Gigapix was developing projects expected to generate huge profits when the company went public.

The telemarketers—known as “fronters”—used marketing lists to cold call potential investors and worked from scripts touting the supposed merits of Gigapix. When victims expressed an interest in investing, they were turned over to “closers” who collected their money. Two of the company’s closers were also convicted in the fraud.

While soliciting money for Gigapix and OZ3D, the defendants told lies and half-truths, suggesting that the company was financially successful and investors would receive high returns on their investments in less than 18 months. They claimed that investments carried little or no risk.

Some of the victims were “savvy investors,” Potocek noted, and perhaps could afford to lose what they risked. But many victims—referred by friends or other investors and who lived far away from Hollywood—were susceptible to the sales pitch and the lure of being part of the film business.
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The Secretary Who Helped Bring Down Bernie Madoff

Eleanor Squillari, longtime secretary to convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, talks to HuffPost Live about the takedown of her former boss, her role in the investigations against him and the new documentary, "In God We Trust," that reveals it all.
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In God We Trust: Following Madoff's Money

In God We Trust: Following Madoff's Money | Global Corruption |
On that cataclysmic day when Bernie Madoff was arrested, his loyal personal secretary Eleanor Squillari was convinced they had made a mistake. Life at the "lipstick building," headquarters of the largest scale Ponzi scheme in financial history was wholesome and nurturing. They were family. But when she phoned Bernie to ask what gives, he was abrupt and perfunctory. And that's when it hit her: this was for real.

That's the story Eleanor Squillari wrote in Vanity Fair, now told in a new riveting documentary, In God We Trust, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, directed by Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson. Interview subjects --journalists, Madoff employees, and victims -- talk about what they knew of Madoff's empire, especially as far as who knew what about the "investing" of funds for an elite clientele, and the goings on at the mysterious 17th floor where no one dared tread. Having defied Bernie's order to destroy all documents, Squillari was later able to help the government's investigation by piecing together information from her copious records, continuing with her own "war room" of inquiry. It's an awesome paper trail, mindboggling in its numbers. And, the business would continue today, if not for the crash of 2008.

In attendance at the premiere were Eleanor Squillari, newly married and now living in Florida, and Madoff son Andrew, barely recognizable as he is undergoing chemo. He was with his girlfriend Catherine Hooper. You may remember the couple from their many television appearances for her book on the subject. They stayed in the audience for the Q&A at the SVA Theater, when many questions were asked: How much did Ruth, his mother, know? Or, were he and his brother Mark who famously committed suicide also involved? While the story of Bernie Madoff's crime fascinates in its complicated enormity, In God We Trust provides a coherent narrative of events that begs more questions than it can answer. A follow up might include interviews with Madoff's mistresses, and hookers. But when it comes to the storied money, of who knew what, where and how, in whose account can we trust?
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More global corruption today than 20 years ago

More global corruption today than 20 years ago | Global Corruption |
José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption organisation promoting integrity in more than 100 countries, says there is more corruption now on a global scale than when the organisation had its genesis two decades ago. 

Ugaz, who was in Jamaica for the signing of the agreement with National Integrity Action (NIA), which formally accredits the organisation as a full chapter of TI, likened corruption to cancer and said efforts to fight this disease were seriously impacted by organised crime. 

According to a NIA release, he cited more money – billions rather than millions of dollars – and more power, as twin evils, defined the new phenomenon of ‘grand corruption’ and indicated that Transparency International had established a ‘No Impunity’ taskforce to more effectively challenge this new and dangerous form of corruption. 

“We are going to be speaking loudly, naming names and taking legal action,” he declared to a gathering of newly inducted NIA members at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Sunday. 

In the Latin American region, Ugaz disclosed that there were unprecedented levels of corruption in countries such as Brazil, which was reeling from the multibillion-dollar Petrobras bribery scandal; Panama, where the former president had a total of $1.2 billion unaccounted for and which could rise to $5 billion; Chile, where the son of the president recently quit as head of a state charity over accusations of influence peddling; and Argentina whose president, and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner - who preceded her as president - are both accused of enriching themselves during a dozen years in power. 
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Switzerland returns $380 million in Abacha money to Nigeria

Switzerland returns $380 million in Abacha money to Nigeria | Global Corruption |
Swiss officials say they are returning to Nigeria some $380 million linked to the country's former dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Geneva prosecutors said Tuesday they ordered the money seized in Luxembourg starting in 2006. It was transferred to Switzerland and officially confiscated last year following an agreement between Nigeria and the Abacha family under which the Nigerian government dropped its case against the late dictator's son, Abba Abacha.

The money, confiscated on the basis that the Abacha family was a criminal organization, will now be returned to Nigeria under World Bank supervision.

Geneva prosecutors closed their own case, opened in 1999, in which Abba Abacha was the last person still under investigation.

Switzerland has previously returned to Nigeria more than $700 million that Sani Abacha stashed in Swiss accounts.
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Putin's Kleptocracy

Putin's Kleptocracy | Global Corruption |
IN REACTING to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in early 2014, the U.S. government announced an unprecedented response: not the Russian state but individual Russian citizens would be subjected to asset seizures and visa bans. The Sixth Fleet was not called into action; exports to Russia as a whole were not banned; cultural and educational exchanges were not stopped. Rather, individual elites close to “a senior Russian Government official”—Vladimir Putin—were targeted. Probably the most serious international crisis since the end of the Cold War, and the White House targets individuals. Why this response? Because at last, after fourteen years of dealing with President Vladimir Putin as a legitimate head of state, the U.S. government has finally acknowledged publicly what successive administrations have known privately—that he has built a system based on massive predation on a level not seen in Russia since the tsars. Transparency International estimates the annual cost of bribery to Russia at $300 billion, roughly equal to the entire gross domestic product of Denmark, or thirty-seven times higher than the $8 billion Russia expended in 2007 on “national priority projects” in health, education, and agriculture.1 Capital flight, which officially has totaled approximately $335 billion since 2005,2 or about 5 percent of GDP, reaching over $50 billion in the first quarter of 2014 alone, has swollen Western bank coffers but made Russia the most unequal of all developed and emerging economies (BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China), in which 110 billionaires control 35 percent of the country’s wealth.3 And these billionaires, far from being titans of industry motoring the modernization of the Russian economy, have secured and increased their wealth by relying on and bolstering the centralized power of the state. The wealth of the oligarchs and political elites who came to power with Putin in 2000 has been more stable than in any other G7 country; they have made millions, though some have also lost as much. Political leaders close to Putin have become multimillionaires, and the oligarchs around them, according to Forbes Russia, have become billionaires. They are able to maintain that power and wealth as long as they don’t challenge Putin politically. Under this system, the state absorbs the risk, provides state funds for investment, and gives those close to the Kremlin massive monetary rewards. With the return under Putin to state capitalism, the state nationalizes the risk but continues to privatize the rewards to those closest to the president in return for their loyalty. Within weeks of Putin’s coming to power, the Kremlin began to erode the basic individual freedoms guaranteed under the 1993 Russian Constitution. This pattern of gradually closing the public space and denying citizens the rights of free press, assembly, and speech was present and planned from the very beginning, as will be shown in my discussion of a document, never before published outside Russia, detailing the plans made in late 1999 and early 2000 to reshape the entire Presidential Administration to achieve these ends. In Russia, the Presidential Administration is the true locus of power, particularly under Putin’s “vertical of power.” Its offices and departments shadow and supervise the work of the government ministries, the two houses of the legislature, the courts, regional government, the media, and societal movements like youth groups and trade unions. It is from here that policy is made in all sectors of domestic and foreign policy, to be implemented by the government or passed into law by the Duma and the Federation Council. Putin was enormously assisted by very favorable global economic conditions in which the price of oil shot up to over $140 per barrel, allowing the Kremlin to provide an increased standard of living for ordinary Russians and the emerging middle class while also creating greater social stability. - See more at:
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The Ten Commandments, as Relevant as Ever (especially as regards corruption)

"...if we really hope to eliminate corruption, crime and violence from our world and nation, our state and local communities, we’ve got to return to the basics, we’ve got to heed the Ten Commandments. And if we want to avoid condemnation and enjoy the gift of eternal life, we need to learn and keep the Commandments of the Lord.
In the Prophet Jeremiah we read these words of the Lord: “I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.” (Jer 17:10)

It’s that simple. God will reward our just deeds and punish our evil deeds. The Commandments help us to know the difference.

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GİLA BENMAYOR - Who is heading the B-20 anti-corruption taskforce?

GİLA BENMAYOR - Who is heading the B-20 anti-corruption taskforce? | Global Corruption |
Corruption is the world’s biggest issue. According to the OECD, the cost of bribery to the world economy is $1 trillion; add environmental and social destruction to this heavy cost.

Some countries are extremely reactive to corruption; others do not lift a finger. 

In Brazil, for example, one million people took to the streets March 16 calling for the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff, who was claimed to have been involved in corruption while she was heading the oil company Petrobras.

Turkey’s anti-corruption record is weak. In the Transparency International Corruption Index 2014 report, Turkey was down 5 points compared to the previous year to stand at 64th place among 175 countries. 

In a recent survey of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), corruption in Turkey and a rise in the perception of corruption were revealed.

Not a day passes without a corruption news story in the press.

Most recently, we learned from our colleague Miyase İlknur that the general manager of Kiptaş, İsmet Yıldırım, became a property lord after he took office. Also, other managers at Kiptaş were claimed to be “rich.” This statement from Ahmet Altan, who spoke to Çınar Oskay on the weekend, is quite striking: “The corruption orgy in Turkey.”

Turkey had an opportunity to take concrete steps against corruption when it took over the presidency of the G-20 from Australia last December because “anti-corruption” is one of the most important agenda topics of G-20 countries.

Did we use this opportunity? No. Unfortunately we have not seen any activity on the corruption agenda of the G-20.

Among the B-20, which represents the business world of the G-20, there are taskforces led by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and one of them is the anti-corruption taskforce. During the last World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Murat Ülker was appointed by TOBB to lead this group. It was later understood that he did not accept the position.

We do not know who the head of this group is. Somehow, it is kept like a secret.

It was claimed the head of the taskforce will be announced in April. Does this group have any members?

Director of Ethics and Reputation Society of Turkey (TEİD) Tayfun Zaman is in the group but he does not know who the other members are.

While there is no activity going on in the anti-corruption taskforce, the other groups are working.
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Let’s not fool ourselves. We may not bribe, but corruption is rife in Britain

Let’s not fool ourselves. We may not bribe, but corruption is rife in Britain | Global Corruption |
It just doesn’t compute. Almost every day the news is filled with stories that look to me like corruption. Yet on Transparency International’s corruption index Britain is ranked 14th out of 177 nations, suggesting that it’s one of the best-run nations on Earth. Either all but 13 countries are spectacularly corrupt or there’s something wrong with the index.

Yes, it’s the index. The definitions of corruption on which it draws are narrow and selective. Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded; common practices in the poor nations are emphasised.

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read by anyone who believes this country merits its position on the index.

Police watchdog to investigate claims Met covered up child abuse
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Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.


No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers. As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny.
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USA Rep. Aaron Schock resigns from Congress after new questions about mileage expenses

USA Rep. Aaron Schock resigns from Congress after new questions about mileage expenses | Global Corruption |

Feb. 2 -The Washington Post reports on Schock’s “Downton Abbey”-inspired office in the Rayburn House Office Building, featuring pheasant feathers and a bust of home-state President Abraham Lincoln.
Feb. 9 - Following the Post report and another revelation from USA Today, POLITICO details Schock’s lavish—but legal—spending at pricey hotels in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami Beach and other posh destinations for campaign purposes.
“In addition to staying at expensive hotels, Schock also has spent more than $90,000 in campaign dollars on private air charters, an unusually high sum for a rank-and-file member of the House,” POLITICO reported at the time.
Feb. 10 - Schock launches his own internal review of tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursements he received for using his official vehicle. POLITICO reports that he has received approximately $1,000 in “private auto mileage” reimbursements from his monthly congressional allowance.
Feb. 24 - Schock brings on two prominent Washington defense lawyers and a public relations firm to battle the brewing controversy over his use of campaign and official accounts to pay for expensive travel and lodging accommodations.
His office declined to answer when asked about a 2011 trip to London in which he stayed at a five-star hotel where the cheapest room went for $500 per night. Documents obtained by POLITICO also showed he was scheduled to visit expensive clothing stores and dined at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
Feb. 26 - It comes out that the Illinois lawmaker never disclosed receiving dinner or drinks during the London trip, POLITICO reports.
Feb. 27 - Schock suspends fundraising events.
The same day, POLITICO reports that Schock spent nearly $15,000 in government money for private flights between October and December.
March 1 - The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Schock used taxpayer money to fly from Peoria to Chicago for a Bears game the previous November.
March 6 - More details about Schock’s international spending surface, as some in his circle and the House Republican Conference fear the Illinois lawmaker could face an Ethics Committee investigation. He holds a news conference but does not alert the national media.
March 9 - POLITICO finds that Schock misreported his payment for the private flight from Peoria to Chicago for the Bears game, indicating the more than $3,000 as a software expenditure. In reality, the $3,000 was a deposit in addition to the $10,000 that Schock previously disclosed that he was billed for the flight, said Keith Sillats, the chief technology officer for Bytelogics.
March 11 - POLITICO asks the congressman in his home district whether he thought he had broken any rules or federal regulations. “Well, I certainly hope not,” Schock said. “I’m not an attorney.”
March 16 - Investigators from the Office of Congressional Ethics start reaching out to people in Schock’s circle.
March 16 - POLITICO asks Schock about tens of thousands of dollars in questionable mileage reimbursements.
March 17 - Schock announces his resignation, effective March 31.

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Cousin of Ecuador's president convicted of embezzlement

Cousin of Ecuador's president convicted of embezzlement | Global Corruption |
A court in Ecuador has convicted a first cousin of President Rafael Correa in the embezzlement of $800,000 from a state-run lender while he ran the country's central bank.

The three-judge tribunal convicted Pedro Delgado in a decision announced Monday. Correa's judicial secretary said Ecuador would seek the extradition of Delgado, who was believed living in Miami.

Correa named Delgado central bank director in November 2011. A month later, the state-owned Cofiec bank granted a fraudulent $800,000 loan to Gaston Duzac, an Argentine associate of Delgado. Also convicted and still at large are Duzac and the bank's then-president, an in-law of Delgado.

All face up to eight years in prison.

Delgado resigned as central bank president in late 2012 after journalists discovered that he falsified his university degree
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Number of women caught in bribery cases rising - The Times of India

Number of women caught in bribery cases rising - The Times of India | Global Corruption |
Till 2012, the number of women caught as primary accused or intermediary in a bribery case by state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) was minuscule. However, in past three years, the number has shot up steadily. In past six months the agency has caught eight women across the state on graft charges including two class I officers. The percentage however in overall cases is less than 5%, admits ACB officials.

"A case is a case for us and we don't see gender when it comes to registration or investigation of cases. However, it is a fact that the number of women getting booked in graft cases have gone up," said a senior ACB official.

ACB officials said that in most of the cases where the women were caught, it was found that their husbands were involved as middlemen. "While in one of the case the accused husband was working in her office as a clerk, in another the woman's husband used to deal on her behalf and get her files for clearance. Thus, they were made co-accused in the cases," said an official.

Officials cited an interesting case registered in 2014 where they had received a complaint of corrupt practices at a village in north Gujarat. The village had a woman sarpanch. During their investigation, ACB found that it was the sarpanch's husband who used to get money for getting the work done while the sarpanch did not know about it. ACB had arrested the man in the case as they did not find evidence against the sarpanch.
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