Corruption & crime November 2021-

Written by  //  January 26, 2022  //  Government & Governance, Justice & Law  //  No comments

Transparency International
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
More on corruption

The world at a standstill
This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) reveals that corruption levels are at a worldwide standstill.
The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The results are given on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
This year, the global average remains unchanged for the tenth year in a row, at just 43 out of a possible 100 points. Despite multiple commitments, 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption in the last decade. Two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating that they have serious corruption problems, while 27 countries are at their lowest score ever.
As anti-corruption efforts stagnate worldwide, human rights and democracy are also under assault.
This is no coincidence. Our latest analysis shows that protecting human rights is crucial in the fight against corruption: countries with well-protected civil liberties generally score higher on the CPI, while countries who violate civil liberties tend to score lower.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has also been used in many countries as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances.
Terry Glavin: Canada’s rankings in the Corruption Perceptions Index have plummeted under Trudeau
There was no single scandal that caused Canada’s score to drop again this year, it’s just the accumulation of events, a kind of hangover effect from lingering embarrassments


7 December
A tax man went after Guatemala’s elites. Then they hit back.
A Guatemalan official prosecuted powerful countrymen for millions in unpaid taxes. Soon, he was fired, arrested and charged with serious crimes. Reuters examines the pushback against efforts to end the corruption and impunity forcing many Central Americans to migrate.
(Reuters) Many here celebrated him for tackling elites long used to getting away with evading taxes. Guatemala is one of the world’s poorest and most unequal countries, with the lowest tax take in Latin America as a percentage of the national economy. But the burly former prosecutor with a buzz cut and a boxer’s nose also made mighty enemies.
Foppa, as the 38-year-old is widely known, this year found himself behind bars, in a case that even his adversaries acknowledge was largely fabricated. His arrest, and 22-day jail stay, was part of an ongoing backlash against some of the leaders of an anti-corruption movement that for a time pioneered efforts to end graft and impunity for powerful elites in Central America.
Foppa’s predicament is part of a broader struggle afoot in Central America over efforts to end the widespread misrule that has destabilized the region and stoked an exodus that’s contributing to the migration crisis at the U.S. border.

6 December
Companies Linked to Russian Ransomware Hide in Plain Sight
When cybersleuths traced the millions of dollars American companies, hospitals and city governments have paid to online extortionists in ransom money, they made a telling discovery: At least some of it passed through one of the most prestigious business addresses in Moscow.
(NYT)That this high-rise in Moscow’s financial district has emerged as an apparent hub of such money laundering has convinced many security experts that the Russian authorities tolerate ransomware operators. The targets are almost exclusively outside Russia, they point out, and in at least one case documented in a U.S. sanctions announcement, the suspect was assisting a Russian espionage agency.
Cybercrime is just one of many issues fueling tensions between Russia and the United States, along with the Russian military buildup near Ukraine and a recent migrant crisis on the Belarus-Polish border.
The Treasury Department has estimated that Americans have paid $1.6 billion in ransoms since 2011. One Russian ransomware strain, Ryuk, made an estimated $162 million last year encrypting the computer systems of American hospitals during the pandemic and demanding fees to release the data, according to Chainalysis, a company tracking cryptocurrency transactions.

28 November
Corruption’s War on the Law
From Nigeria to Italy, the forces of corruption are fighting back against those who would root them out, and from bombs and bullets to writs and motions, they will use any weapon they can to improve their chances. Not content to intimidate or even murder their opponents, now they are targeting the rule of law itself.
(Project Syndicate) When you try to fight corruption, corruption fights back. Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia could tell you that – if she had not been murdered by associates of those she was investigating. Rwandan anti-corruption lawyer Gustave Makonene, who was strangled and thrown from a car, also can’t talk. Nor can Brazilian activist Marcelo Miguel D’Elia, who was shot multiple times in a sugarcane field near his home.
Police officers, prosecutors, and public officials have also faced severe consequences for trying to take on corruption. One such official is Ibrahim Magu, who became acting chairman of Nigeria’s main anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in 2015. In 2017, gunmen attacked Magu’s home, killing one of the policemen guarding it. But bullets were not what ultimately neutralized Magu. Instead, his removal from office was engineered through “lawfare” – the use (or abuse) of the law for political ends. Last year – at a time when the EFCC was reportedly probing corruption allegations against Attorney-General Abubakar Malami – Magu was arrested and detained over allegations of corruption and insubordination, leveled by none other than Malami.

25 November
2016 Rio Olympics chief sentenced to 30 years in prison for buying votes to secure Games
By Mauricio Savarese
(AP/Global) Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee for more than two decades, was sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in jail for allegedly buying votes for Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics. Nuzman, who also headed the Rio 2016 organizing committee, was found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and tax evasion. The 79-year-old executive won’t be jailed until all his appeals are heard.
Judge Marcelo Bretas also sentenced to jail former Rio Gov. Sergio Cabral, businessman Arthur Soares and Leonardo Gryner, who was the Rio 2016 committee director-general of operations. Investigators say all three and Nuzman coordinated to bribe the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, and his son Papa Diack for votes.

15 November
The Bad Guys Are Winning
If the 20th century was the story of slow, uneven progress toward the victory of liberal democracy over other ideologies—communism, fascism, virulent nationalism—the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse.
By Anne Applebaum
That’s the subject of my Atlantic cover story this month: the new autocrats, the links they share, the impunity they enjoy, the world they have created. It’s a world in which ideology no longer matters, where Iranian theocrats work happily alongside Russian nationalists and Chinese Communists. Sometimes, the welfare of their fellow citizens doesn’t matter either. This generation of autocrats is focused on money—their own money—and on retaining power at all costs. Modern autocratic elites will do what it takes to stay in control, even if it leads to the destruction of their countries, as it has already in Venezuela and in Syria, and perhaps will soon in Belarus.
Nowadays, autocracies are run not by one bad guy but by networks composed of kleptocratic financial structures, security services, and professional propagandists. The members of these networks are connected not only within a given country but among many countries. The corrupt, state-controlled companies in one dictatorship do business with their counterparts in another. The police forces in one country can arm, equip, and train the police forces in another. The propagandists share resources—the troll farms that promote one dictator’s propaganda can also be used to promote the propaganda of another—and themes, pounding home the same messages about the weakness of democracy and the evil of America.

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