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Corruption and Money Laundering - Regions

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Europe and Russia | North America | Latin America | Africa | Asia and Australia | Middle East | Archived Articles


Europe and Russia




New EU Members Score Badly in Corruption Ranking (November 6, 2006)

Romania and Bulgaria face criticism from Transparency International (TI) with the release of its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks Romania 84th and Bulgaria 57th out of 163 countries due to the rampant corruption in both states. Many EU countries occupy the top places in the CPI, and with both Romania and Bulgaria set to join the EU in 2007 such a report could jeopardize relations with the regional bloc argues this Der Spiegel article. The EU Commission has already created "safeguards" that allow for the termination of EU subsidies if evidence of corruption is found. TI states that these "safeguards" benefit Romania and Bulgaria by pressuring the countries to quickly implement reforms.




Two Nations Get Warning on EU Membership (October 25, 2005)

The European Union is threatening to postpone Romanian and Bulgarian accession to the organization if the two countries fail to tackle corruption and initiate judicial reform. If they do not progress, Romanian and Bulgarian entry into the EU will likely be delayed from 2007 to 2008. Given the failure of the EU Constitution and Europe's slow-growing economy, the climate for expansion has become increasingly hostile. (International Herald Tribune)

Three Held Over Beheading of Kiev Corruption Reporter (March 2, 2005)

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced that authorities had arrested three men linked to the 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze, a prominent campaigner against high-level government corruption. Secret recordings of former President Leonid Kuchma ordering senior members of his administration to "take care" of the journalist had also come to light. The investigation into the murder had stalled under Kuchma until documents were leaked to the Independent which showed obstruction of the case at the highest levels.



North America




Oil, Cash and Corruption (November 5, 2006)

The forthcoming corruption trial of US businessman James H. Giffen sheds light upon the massive bribes received by Kazakh President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who has "amassed a fortune at the expense of an impoverished citizenry." Giffen has allegedly paid Nazarbayev US$78 billion "to buy access and influence in Kazakhstan for oil giants like Exxon Mobil, BP […] and […] Conoco-Phillips" This New York Times piece indicates that US government officials approved of Giffen's bribery. Moreover, the author highlights the obvious US hypocrisy of claiming to promote good governance and democracy across the world, while graciously receiving the kleptocratic Kazakh leader in September 2006.




Riggs Bank Agrees to Guilty Plea and Fine (January 28, 2005)

The Washington Post reports that Riggs Bank, implicated in former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's money laundering activities, pleaded guilty to charges of criminal liability. The bank agreed to a $16 million fine, bringing its total civil and criminal money laundering-related penalties to $41 million. In 2004 Riggs shut down its questionable international and embassy banking operations.



Latin America




A Murky Transparency Law (February 22, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article reports on the shortcomings of a Honduran law on "transparency and access to public information." The law – purportedly designed to ensure transparency – actually gives government officials the right to permanently restrict documents and shield themselves from allegations of corruption. The author argues that these provisions in the law violate several international conventions Honduras is party to such as the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.




Pinochet to Face Tax Fraud Charges (August 19, 2006)

Following a ruling by Chile's Supreme Court, former dictator Augusto Pinochet will face charges of corruption and embezzlement. Pinochet once held secret accounts in a number of US-based banks, and allegedly stole millions of dollars' worth of government funds. Pinochet already faces indictments for human rights abuses during his 1973-1990 dictatorship. (al-Jazeera)




An Evil Eye Opens Up Again (February 19, 2005)

This Inter Press Service article revisits Operation Mallochio ('evil eye'), "one of the biggest" anti-money laundering operations ever conducted in Italy, in light of recent developments in Brazil linked with casino gaming. The original investigation focused on a criminal network involved in drug trafficking and money laundering activities in several Latin American countries.






Billions Lost to State Coffers Due to Tax Leniency (February 18, 2011)

Tax avoidance in Africa is draining billions of dollars out of the continent every year. According to the Tax Justice Network, it is mainly the work of multi-national corporations operating within Africa, who enjoy generous tax exemptions, fixed prices and low rate royalty payments provided by corrupt officials. As tax burdens fall on citizens instead, this article argues that "Governments commercialising sovereignty to act as tax havens have blood on their hands," and that African states must endeavour to curb fiscal privileges. (IPS Africa)



Corruption in a Developing Country Context (July 25, 2007)

Corruption is defined as "the misuse of public office or public assets for private gains". This Globalist article argues that it affects every part of society damaging significantly developing countries by diverting resources that could benefit the poor. There are numerous countries in Africa still fighting against corruption and the ensuing culture of impunity. Nigeria is one of them. Corruption is, above all, an indication of weak governance and weak institutions.

Nigerian Vice President Faces Corruption Charges (February 28, 2007)

This Guardian piece highlights the corruption allegations surrounding Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The Nigerian Senate's report accuses Abubakar of stealing nearly US$100 million from public funds and recommends that he be prosecuted, which would first require him to be impeached. The report and its recommendations demonstrate a willingness to fight corruption in a country that consistently ranks among the most corrupt in the world.




To Fight Corruption, One African Offers Presidents Cash (November 24, 2006)

The annual Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International has repeatedly ranked African countries as some of the most corrupt in the world. However, this New York Times article argues that a catalyst for change now exists in Africa with the announcement by Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim that he will award an annual prize of US$5 million to African leaders - upon retirement from office - who eschew corruption and instead promote democratic processes and good governance.

The Nairobi Declaration (April 7, 2006)

Citing the crippling effects of corruption on governance and development, representatives to Transparency International from Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe have signed the "Nairobi Declaration on International Obligations and on the Recovery and Repatriation of Africa's Stolen Wealth." According to the Declaration, African governments must strive to stamp out corruption, the international community must reign in offshore havens that protect stolen wealth, and individuals and corporations from G-8 and OECD countries must no longer enjoy impunity from corrupt practices in Africa.

Kenya: More Ministers Resign over Graft Allegations (February 14, 2006)

Kenya's government has been plagued by a widening pattern of fraud, forcing several prominent cabinet ministers to resign. As a result of corruption, which President Mwai Kibaki has vowed to eliminate, Kenya has lost an estimated 10 percent of its annual gross domestic product and several international donors have decided to withhold aid. As National Commission on Human Rights Chairman Maina Kiai points out, the billions of shillings stolen by the government would "make a dramatic difference" in alleviating poverty and addressing Kenya's food shortages and related humanitarian concerns. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)




State Changes Tune on Looted Billions Abroad (May 19, 2005)

The Kenyan government provides few details on its continuing effort to recover Sh80 billion (more than US$1 billion) of taxpayers' money stolen and stashed in foreign bank accounts during the Kanu regime. Talking to the press, the Kenyan Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister would not provide any details about the progress of the investigation or the amounts recovered. The minister also deflected questions about the government's commitment to fighting corruption, insisting that such accusations were "based on perceptions and misunderstanding rather than facts and reality." (East African Standard)

Why Githongo Resigned (February 8, 2005)

Kenya's graft fighting expert John Githongo resigned from his post as permanent secretary for governance and ethics, dealing a "severe blow to the heart of the administration's efforts to curb corruption." US ambassador to Kenya William Bellamy called the departure a "severe setback," noting his concern that Githongo's resignation comes in the wake of extensive new information on corruption within the Kenyan government. (Nation, Nairobi)



Asia and Australia




A Torturous Road to Nation-Building (March 20, 2008)

Fifteen years after the UN Transitional Authority conducted free elections in Cambodia, the country still remains fragile. The executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are all engaged in corruption, creating lawlessness and endangering the justice system. Corrupt legal officials also reduce the credibility of the UN supported tribunal trying Khmer Rouge leaders. While many cities attract investment thanks to tourism, the government's lack of social policies strongly hurts citizens in rural areas. There are no health services and many live on the "edge of hunger." (International Herald Tribune)




Graft Threatens Afghan Government Legitimacy-Group (March 19, 2007)

This AlertNet piece highlights the issues of graft that continue to plague the Afghanistan government. A survey conducted by Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) estimates that every Afghan household paid an average bribe of US$100 in 2006. IWA argues that such rampant corruption can undermine the Afghan government's legitimacy because it shows that the state "doesn't control its territory totally."




Oil, Cash and Corruption (November 5, 2006)

The forthcoming corruption trial of US businessman James H. Giffen sheds light upon the massive bribes received by Kazakh President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who has "amassed a fortune at the expense of an impoverished citizenry." Giffen has allegedly paid Nazarbayev US$78 billion "to buy access and influence in Kazakhstan for oil giants like Exxon Mobil, BP […] and […] Conoco-Phillips" This New York Times piece indicates that US government officials approved of Giffen's bribery. Moreover, the author highlights the obvious US hypocrisy of claiming to promote good governance and democracy across the world, while graciously receiving the kleptocratic Kazakh leader in September 2006.

China Cracks Down on Corruption (October 24, 2006)

The Chinese government increasingly attempts to rein in corruption by cracking down on officials and businessmen who engage in such acts. In the first eight months of 2006, 17,505 government officials were convicted of fraudulent activities. However, as this BBC piece reveals, many difficulties exist with government attempts to eliminate corruption in a system where no independent media or judiciary exists and free elections are practically unheard of.

Chinese Commission Investigates Corruption (February 15, 2006)

Following an investigation by the Central Discipline Inspection Commission, the Chinese Communist Party expelled 24,000 members and disciplined a total of 115,000 on corruption related charges. According to the Commission's investigation, corruption posed a particular threat to China's mining industry, in which thousands of miners have died working in unsafe conditions left unregulated by party officials "paid to look the other way." Party officials have maintained a "top-down" approach to tackling corruption, preventing the judiciary system from prosecuting cases independently and the press from reporting corruption related issues without being censored. (Washington Post)




China's Frantic Crackdown on Corruption (May 30, 2005)

Despite the Chinese government's increasing attempts to fight graft, a recent World Bank Institute report concludes that "China's control of corruption has eroded since 1996." China ranks 71 of 145 on watchdog Transparency International's corruption index, but the size of the country and its economy compounds the effects of graft: "More than 846,000 Communist Party members were punished for corruption from 1998 to 2002 alone." (Globe & Mail)

Mongolian Woman MP Takes Aim at Corruption (April 25, 2005)

Sanjaasuren Oyun, one of the five women in Mongolia's 76-seat parliament has taken it upon herself to combat corruption in her country. Though the Mongolian Parliament passed an Anti-Corruption Law in 1996, critics say "it remains little more than a manifesto without enforcement mechanisms." Oyen also stressed the importance of involving women in politics, citing a World Bank study that shows "the greater the involvement of women in politics, the less corruption there is." (Radio Free Asia)

Graft Goes Hand in Hand With Big Government (March 22, 2005)

Corruption accounts for the loss of as much as one-third of all public investment in some Asian countries. The UN estimates that India would boost its economic growth by 1.5 percentage points a year if it eliminated corruption. Yet public tolerance of low levels of corruption, and belief that it "acts as a lubricant to facilitate the management of political affairs," hamper efforts to eradicate it. (Bangkok Post)

Wave of Corruption Tarnishes China's Extraordinary Growth (March 22, 2005)

Corruption in China's companies runs rampant. "A lot of state-owned companies have been simply stripped clean," according to a professor of finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Beneath China's booming economy lies a financial mess -- "nearly half the nation's 130 brokerage houses are insolvent," according to this New York Times piece, and high-level embezzlement occurs regularly. In the first two months of 2005 alone, three separate cases involving over US$1 billion came to light.

Communist Party Leaders Struggle to Contain Rising Corruption in China (March 1, 2005)

President Hu Jintao of China himself has said that "corruption is the strongest factor threatening the [Communist Party's] ability to stay in power. In 2004 alone, China disciplined more than 150,000 corrupt party members and uncovered over $300 million in misused public funds. Yet few believe that anything short of a radical transformation of the political system will remedy the problem, and such a transformation is unlikely to come. (Voice of America)



Middle East




Slow Reconstruction Blamed On Corruption (September 6, 2006)

The Commission on Public Integrity (CPI), an independent organization set up by the Iraqi government, has investigated over 3,500 corruption cases, yet fewer than 50 have been tried in court. Head of the CPI Judge Radhi al-Radhi says corruption penetrates every government department and hampers the already weak reconstruction effort. Of the US$45 billion designated for reconstruction, including money from the Iraqi Security Forces Fund, the Development Fund for Iraq and the US government, at least 25 percent remains unaccounted for. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

In Corruption, New Government of Iraq Faces a Tough Old Foe (May 23, 2006)

Many experts believe that corruption in Iraq has increased dramatically since the US invaded. According to the head of the Commission on Public Integrity, Iraq's anti-corruption agency, corruption exists "in every ministry [and] in every governorate." National bank employees steal money and replace it with counterfeit dinars and a pervasive and growing black market exists in unregistered and smuggled cars. US and Iraqi officials warn that corruption poses a serious challenge to Iraq's government under Nouri Maliki. (Los Angeles Times)

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