Kleptocracy Weekly – August 19-26, 2016

Leading stories on kleptocracy and its “enablers” from the past seven days…

United States

  • A former Treasury Department special agent called on lawmakers to end anonymous “shell” companies.
  • Since 2009, Delaware officials have torpedoed legislative efforts to track the owners of anonymous companies.
  • The ownership of a company collecting sensitive data on American voters for the Trump campaign has been linked to a web of commercial interests including Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
  • Just seven prosecutions have taken place under the Foreign Agents Registration Act since 1966.
  • Congressional efforts to shore up U.S. sanctions against the Kremlin are meeting heavy resistance from oil industry lobbyists and the Trump campaign.
  • The Clinton Foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign donors.
  • The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation faces questions over donor transparency after being linked to the 1MDB scandal.
  • The Treasury Department proposed new regulations to remove customer identification exemptions for financial institutions.
  • Ukrainian oligarchs have cultivated extensive political, legal, business, and cultural relationships in the U.S., including with Ukrainian diaspora organizations.
  • President Petro Poroshenko praised Ukraine’s military on Independence Day, as international donors continue to express concern over stalled anti-corruption reforms.
  • The cost of medical procurement decreased by 25 percent after a specialist UK firm took over and cut out graft payments.
  • The National Anti-Corruption Bureau is investigating the former prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.
  • Viktor Medvedchuk, Kuchma’s chief of staff and a Kremlin confidante, still maintains “outsize influence” in Ukraine.
  • An in-depth look at Deutsche Bank’s role in the illicit transfer of $10 billion out of Russia.
  • “No other major power employs murder as systematically and ruthlessly as Russia does against those seen as betraying its interests abroad.”
  • Despite consistently poor performance, VTB Bank has survived through close political and financial ties to the Kremlin.
  • Vice President Joe Biden reiterated American support for the NATO alliance during a trip to the Baltics (KI also visited recently).
  • The assets of an anonymous Scottish company were seized by Ukraine during its investigation of Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a showjumping MP currently seeking asylum in the UK.
Middle East
  • Ken Silverstein on a Stolen War: “It is hard to overstate the devastating role that corruption has played in the failure of Iraq and the rise of ISIS.”
  • Accounting giant Deloitte is being sued in Dubai for failing to flag more than $200 million in money laundering.
KI News
  • Ilya Zaslavskiy talked about his personal experience of Putin’s kleptocracy, the export of corrupt values to the West, and KI in a podcast interview with the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.