corruption

“KPMG rocked by South African corruption scandal”

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Source: accountancyage.com, 27 September 2017

“KPMG’s South African branch has come under fire and suffered a severe reputational hit after becoming caught up in a growing corruption scandal surrounding one of the country’s most powerful families, the Guptas.”

“KPMG is accused of facilitating the family in tax evasion and corruption. The firm denies any wrongdoing but admits to missing several “red flags” in relation to the family’s accounts. At least eight senior KPMG South Africa officials have resigned in the wake of the scandal, including CEO Trevor Hoole.”

“KPMG conceded that audits of Gupta companies: “fell well short of the quality expected, and that the audit teams failed to apply sufficient professional scepticism and to comply fully with auditing standards”.”

“As a result of the scandal KPMG have lost several audit contracts in South Africa, with even more companies considering severing ties. The firm is under investigation by South African regulatory body IRBA and risks being removed from the country’s auditors’ register.”

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“EU Citizenship for Sale: Legal Scheme Allows Corrupt Politicians and Businessmen to Slip into the EU”

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Source: occur.org 18 September 2017

“Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs suspected of corruption are among hundreds who have acquired EU passports under the “golden visa” program – a bourgeois shortcut to European citizenship in exchange for cash investments, the Guardian reported Sunday.”

“The paper claims that Cyprus alone has made over $US 4 billion selling passports to international oligarchs, “granting them the right to live and work throughout Europe,” completely legally.

However, Cyprus is not alone. “The Golden Visa program for Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus are the most prominent. Bulgaria and Hungary offer residency and citizenship by investment in Europe through government bonds,” the Golden Visa website claims.”

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Recovering Africa’s Stolen Assets: from Jersey to Kenya

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Source: taxjustice.net 4 July 2017

A report by the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery programme found that, while nearly $1.4 billion in suspected corrupt assets were frozen in OECD countries between 2010 and 2012, less than $150 million was returned. Recovering stolen assets is of particular importance for sub-Saharan African countries, given the extent of the looting of public funds carried out by corrupt leaders and officials.

Prosecuting international corruption and recovering stolen assets has proved difficult and time-consuming. Both states from which assets have been stolen, and those where these assets are laundered or stored, have struggled to produce results.

The recently confirmed confiscation and subsequently agreed upon return of stolen assets from Jersey to Kenya – in the context of the investigation of Windward Trading Limited – is  therefore a significant achievement. It may also serve as an example of the kind of innovative legal approach other states, practitioners and the international community can explore to achieve meaningful progress in the recovery of stolen assets.

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EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent ‘Ghost’ Offices

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Source: Organised Crime and Corruption Project 31 May 2017

Hundreds of members of the European Parliament are potentially misusing EU funds meant to pay for offices in their home country, but at least 249 of these offices either do not exist or are nowhere to be found, according to an investigation by ‘Journalists of the MEPs Project’ published Wednesday.

 Each month MEPs are given a tax-free lump sum of €4,342, called the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA). The fund costs the EU around €40 million annually and is meant to provide MEPs with national offices that, among other things, should keep them in touch with citizens.

The series of investigations across all 28 members states, however, found that in 249 cases MEPs either said they have no offices, refused to reveal their addresses, or the locations could not otherwise be tracked.

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Ugandan Energy Minister Signed $157M Tax Waiver to Tullow Oil Without Reading the Agreement

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Source: taxjustice.net 10 May 2017

The East African press is reporting that Uganda’s former Energy Minister, Syda Bhumba, has confirmed that she signed a tax waiver agreement with UK company, Tullow Oil, without reading the document.

Time and again, oil and mineral rich African countries have been skinned alive by rapacious mining and oil companies who extract huge tax reliefs, exemptions and holidays from hapless and/or corrupt politicians.

There’s no doubt that this kind of thing happens in many countries around the world.

The waiver, which exempted both income and capital gains from tax, is being disputed by the Uganda Revenue Authority on the grounds that Bhumba had no authority to sign such a waiver since authority in this area lies with the Finance Minister.

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“Petrofac bosses questioned by SFO over Unaoil scandal”

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Source: telegraph.co.uk 12th May 2017

“Petrofac confirmed that its chief executive, Ayman Asfari, and chief operating officer Marwan Chedid have been questioned under caution by the SFO.

The FTSE 250 group added that the SFO has commenced an investigation which it believes is in connection with the investigation into Unaoil.

The services firm has found itself at the centre of a global corruption scandal that erupted after leaked documents implicate the oil services group in an investigation into Monaco-based Unaoil which is alleged to have paid bribes on behalf of oil companies.

Melbourne-based newspaper The Age, which claims to have seen the emails, reported that Petrofac’s former vice-president Peter Warner requested that Unaoil make “confidential payments” via a bank account in Pacific tax haven the Marshall Islands.”

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Spanish Court to question former HSBC executives in tax probe

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Source: Reuters 4th May 2017

Spain’s High Court is to question seven former executives from HSBC’s Swiss private bank as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering and tax fraud triggered by tax information leaks from former employee Herve Falciani.

The court said in a ruling, published on Thursday, it had decided to widen the investigation to study the flow of funds from HSBC’s Swiss private bank to Spain’s Banco Santander and France’s BNP Paribas.

“These entities have collaborated to repatriate funds deposited in HSBC’s Swiss private bank with the aim of concealing them from Spanish tax authorities,” the court said in a separate statement also published on Thursday.

HSBC, which reported first-quarter results on Thursday, declined to comment.

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“KPMG US sacks five partners over insider leak”

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Source: economia.icaew.com, 12 April 2017

“Six individuals in total have been let go by KPMG after it discovered they had received advance warnings of what audits were to be inspected by US regulator the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

The leaks potentially undermined the integrity of the regulatory process and violated KPMG’s code of conduct.

The firm learned in late February from an internal source that an individual who had joined KPMG from the PCAOB subsequently received the confidential information from a then-employee at the regulator.

KPMG said that it immediately reported the situation to the PCAOB and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Following an internal investigation, the firm found that the six KPMG individuals either had improper advance warnings of engagements to be inspected by the PCAOB, or were aware that others had received such advance warnings and had failed to properly report the situation in a timely manner.”

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Shell admits dealing with money launderer

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Source: bbc.co.uk 11 April 2017

“Shell has admitted for the first time it dealt with a convicted money-launderer when negotiating access to a vast oil field in Nigeria.

It comes after emails were published showing Shell negotiated with Dan Etete, who was later convicted of money laundering in a separate case.

Shell and the Italian firm ENI agreed a deal with the Nigerian government for the rights to exploit OPL 245, a prime oil block off the coast of the Niger Delta. Read the rest of this entry »

Brazil’s Rotten Meat Scandal Threatens Billions in Annual Exports

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Source: occurs.org, 20 March 2017

“Trying to disprove allegations that bribed inspectors had allowed the sale and export of rotten meat, Brazilian President Michel Temer invited on Sunday ambassadors of 19 countries for a dinner at a steakhouse.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of red meat, and much of the meat produced by these companies is exported to Europe, China and the US.

The scandal threatens Brazil’s US$ 12 billion in annual exports. It prompted China to suspend imports from Brazil and the European Union and the U.S. to seek explanations.

Some of the tainted meat was allegedly fed to schoolchildren in Brazil and sold to major retail chains like Wal-Mart.

Federal police suspended 33 government officials, closed three meat processing plants and are investigating 21 more.”

Source article here