Kleptocracy Weekly: September 16-23, 2016

A weekly roundup of leading stories on kleptocrats and their enablers…

United States

  • Prosecuting kleptocrats is difficult: U.S. law enforcement agencies are targeting their stolen assets instead. (OCCRP)
  • Delaware is trying to water down proposals to end anonymous companies, and has spent more than $2 million of taxpayer funds lobbying Congress since 2009. (Delaware Online)
  • A Delaware lawmaker says that anonymous companies are hurting the state’s reputation. (Delaware Online)

Caribbean

  • The ICIJ has released a new offshore leak exposing accounts and anonymous companies based in the Bahamas.

China

  • China will shift the focus of its global hunt for graft suspects from evidence-gathering to the seizure of allegedly stolen assets. Other countries remain reluctant to cooperate, citing espionage and human rights concerns. (Reuters, Globe & Mail)
  • China signed a first-of-its kind asset recovery deal with Canada, bolstering its global hunt for overseas graft suspects. (SCMP)
  • Canada will also discuss an extradition treaty with China. (Globe & Mail)
  • Beijing expelled 45 representatives from the National People’s Congress for alleged election bribery (including a businessman who donated $2 million to the Clinton Foundation and $120,000 to Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe). (WaPo)
  • Spending figures suggest that Chinese tourists are illicitly shifting cash out of the country on an epic scale. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Africa

  • new report shows how corrupt South Sudanese officials benefit from war crimes, corruption, and looting. (The Sentry)

Russia

  • U.S. authorities subpoenaed Andrey Pavlov, allegedly a lawyer for the Klyuev criminal group, to appear before a New York grand jury in relation to the enormous Russian fraud uncovered by Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. (Daily Beast)
  • David Kramer says the U.S. should outlaw participation in the Kremlin’s privatization schemes. (American Interest)

Ukraine

  • Ukraine’s recent $1 billion IMF bailout is overshadowed by endemic corruption. (Independent)
  • The government brought Ukrtransgas, a valuable part of the state oil company, under direct control, rendering it vulnerable to graft. (BNE IntelliNews)
  • Joe Biden warned Ukraine to implement reforms or risk the EU lifting sanctions against Russia. (Reuters)
  • EU retailers are skirting sanctions to do business in Crimea. (Reuters)
  • Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested a senior investigator from the Prosecution General’s office for embezzlement, further escalating a feud between the two bodies. (UA Today)

Eastern Europe

  • Moldovan prosecutors accused sixteen judges and four court officials of involvement in the “Russian Laundromat,” a scheme which illicitly moved $20 billion from Russia into the EU and elsewhere. (OCCRP)

Western Europe

  • Tony Blair is closing his controversial for-profit consultancy businesses, whose clients have included some of the world’s most repressive regimes. (Guardian)

Global

  • How to hide it: inside the secret world of wealth managers. (Guardian)