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EAC residents stash $1.3bn in Swiss accounts

The Citizen (Tanzania)

June 27, 2012


By Mwaura Kimani


Residents of the East Africa Community have more money stashed away in Swiss banks than those from any other region in Africa, a new report reveals. The Swiss National Bank (SNB), the central bank of Switzerland, in its latest report on the country’s banking sector states that the EAC countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya have at least $1.3 billion in the country.


Kenya tops the list with $857 million followed by Tanzania ($178 million), Uganda ($159 million), Rwanda ($29.7 million and Burundi ($16.7 million).



How Transnational Crime Hinders Development—and What to Do About It

The Internationalist

June 26, 2012


By Stewart M. Patrick


Today, the Internationalist is writing from the floor of the United Nations in New York, where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, among others, have gathered for the hundredth anniversary of the landmark 1912 Opium Convention and the 2012 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. To mark the occasion and attempt to progress in the world’s fight against transnational crime, today’s thematic debate focuses on drugs and crime as a threat to development. Below is a summary of my prepared remarks to the panel.


Transnational organized crime is particularly damaging to developing countries. Global Financial Integrity reports that illicit outflows from developing countries—including the proceeds of corruption, crime, and false transfer pricing—are “approximately 7-10 times the amount of official development assistance (ODA) going into developing countries.” That means that for each dollar of foreign aid, several dollars are lost through illicit outflows.



We Changed the World In Our Own Small Way - One NGO's Influence on the Rio Agreement

Huffington Post UK

June 22, 2012


By Sue Riddlestone


The BioRegional delegation in Rio had a little celebration when the final version of the UN Rio+20 outcome document was published this week and we could see our influence in several places. We had been reflecting on the difficulty of assessing the impact we have had in the process, as things are never written in the exact way that they are spoken about during the negotiations. But later on that day a delegate told us that one element of the text about broader measures of progress to complement GDP, or natural capital accounting as many interpret this (Paragraph 38), was included as a direct result of the side event we had held on the subject in New York in May as part of the second round of the informal UN negotiations.


Valuing natural capital is a fundamental part of sustainability, but it has been a touchy subject in the UN as some delegates say you cannot put a price on nature. The event we put on in May, which Freya Seath, International Policy Advisor at BioRegional, worked so hard to make a success of, included the UN Statistical Department who explained the new System of Environmental Economic Accounts (SEEA), which they have been developing for twenty years (!), and the World Bank who are helping nations to implement it. We of course explained how BioRegional has for many years used capital accounting in the form of ecological footprinting to inform decision making for our One Planet Living programme of partnership real-life sustainable communities, regions and business. Our One Planet Living vision is for a world where people everywhere enjoy a high quality of life within the productive capacity of the planet and leave space for wildlife and wilderness. We show this in action by developing One Planet Living projects and promoting the approach. As we concluded our event, one government delegate commented that our event "gives us a sense of possibility".



Corruption, Drug and Gun Crime, Tax Evasion Caused Mexico to Lose $872 Billion in 4 Decades

Hispanically Speaking News

June 20, 2012


Between 1970 and 2010, Mexico reportedly lost $872 billion, according to a report from the Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization.


The report, Mexico: Illicit Financial Flows, Macroeconomic Imbalances, and the Underground Economy, found that due to 40 years of corruption, tax evasion, and drug, weapons, and human trafficking, Mexico has lost an exorbitant amount of money, money Raymond W. Baker, director of GFI says “could have been used to develop the Mexican economy, to invest in education, to build roads, or to fight the drug cartels.”



G-20 Renews Anti-Corruption Working Group

The Wall Street Journal (Blog)

June 20, 2012

By Samuel Rubenfeld


The leaders of the Group of 20 nations said late Tuesday in a declaration they extended the mandate of an anti-corruption working group for another two years, through the end of 2014.


The declaration included a request for the Anti-Corruption Working Group to prepare an action plan, and to create another monitoring report for consideration by the end of this year.



Mexico loses $872B in 40 years

El Paso Times

June 19, 2012

By Diana Washington Valdez


Mexico's economy lost a staggering $872 billion dollars over a 40-year period to tax evasion, corruption and crime that included drug, arms and human trafficking, according to a new study by Global Financial Integrity.


Trade-related schemes by domestic and transnational companies also contributed to the illicit capital flight between 1970 and 2010, said the report based on GFI's study titled "Mexico: Illicit Financial Flows, Macroeconomic Imbalances, and the Underground Economy."



The Financial Crimes That Are Destroying The Economy Of The Developing World

Fast Coexist

June 14, 2012

By Oscar Abello


Let’s say I’m a South Africa-based factory owner and you’re a solar panel salesperson from New York City. I want some solar panels to make my factory more self-sufficient, and we agree I’ll pay you $1 million for them. But I ask you a favor: Could you invoice me for $1.2 million and then deposit the extra $200,000 that I just gave you into another company’s bank account in New York City. You’re eager to close a big sale, so we agree to the deal.


You might know false invoicing is illegal, you might not, but it’s very unlikely either of us gets caught anyway. What you don’t know is that I actually made most of that $1,200,000 from my side business, smuggling poached elephant ivory to China; the money I’m about to wire into your bank account comes from my Canary Islands bank account where I send all my business earnings to minimize tax obligations; and I’m going to use that $200,000 to purchase stolen art from a broker in midtown Manhattan so I can decorate my future retirement home in the Seychelles, where another company I control anonymously just purchased some beachfront property.



Illicit funds from Mexico find safe haven in U.S.


June 12, 2012

By Heather A. Lowe


The United States has a strong national interest in economic, political and civil stability in Mexico. Its war against transnational drug cartels has dramatically highlighted Mexico's problems, but the truth is that the nation has had deep, unsolved, structural problems in its economy and an opaque international financial system for decades.


Global Financial Integrity's report on Mexico found that $872 billion in illicit finances left the country from 1970 through 2010. Although some laundered drug money may be included in that figure, it overwhelmingly represents tax evasion by both domestic and multinational corporations doing business in Mexico, as well as corruption, kickbacks and bribery from wealthy Mexican public officials and business leaders.



South Africa: The Missing Dimension in the Fracking Debate - How We Are Not Dealing With Greed and S

AllAfrica (Blog)

June 11, 2012

By Saliem Fakir


Fracking has become so fractious that our Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters, has even resorted to religious metaphors to sell the idea to the South African public.


She is reported to have said in parliament that she prays daily that the cabinet decision on shale gas exploration is positive. In a desperate attempt to create a saintly feel for fracking, she remarked:



KPO Probe Highlights Customs Risks

The Wall Street Journal (Blog)

June 8, 2012

By C.M. Matthews


An internal investigation by some of the world’s largest energy firms into allegations of corruption in a Kazakhstan customs office may strike a chord with companies shipping freight to the developing world.


The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that members of Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV and a logistics arm of Deutsche Post AG, which handles freight shipments for the group, received an anonymous email in March alleging improper payments for moving goods through Kazakhstan’s Aksai City customs office.



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