Kleptocracy Daily: March 23, 2017


The U.S. Treasury Department recently obtained information about offshore financial transactions involving Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as part of a federal anti-corruption probe into his work in Eastern Europe. (AP)

Though Manafort is gone, his ­decade-long business associate Rick Gates remains entrenched in the Trump administration; Through Manafort, Gates is tied to many of the same business titans from Ukraine and Russia, including Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Putin. (WaPo)

A lawyer connected to murdered Putin foe Sergei Magnitsky has been thrown from a window in Moscow. He was a witness for the U.S. (The Daily Beast)

In the hunt for ‘crocodiles’ in China’s corridors of power, the

supervision minister warns tycoons not to seek office or collude with officials, but others say authorities need to tackle root causes of graft. (SCMP)

A bipartisan letter by top members of the House oversight and government reform committee asks for documents on Michael Flynn’s foreign contacts. (Guardian)

For the first time Chinese party committees are using “negative lists”–including everything from bribe taking to involvement with illegal construction projects–to screen delegations, which will set China’s political hierarchy for the next five years. (SCMP)

U.S. officials say that new information–including ‘human intelligence, travel, business and phone records, and accounts of in-person meetings’–suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians. (CNN)

Lobbying group BGR Government Affairs has just signed to represent Azerbaijan. (Politico)

A former Russian parliamentarian who fled to Ukraine and harshly criticized the Russian authorities has been shot dead in Kiev. (Moscow Times)

Dutch lender ING has confirmed it is facing a criminal investigation into alleged money laundering and corruption from Netherlands authorities; it’s been suggested that the probe was connected to an Uzbekistan bribery case. (CNBC)

Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said reports that the FBI had confirmed links between Trump campaign and Russian intelligence were “not deserving to be commented on.” (Moscow Times)

Prosecutors in a Swiss fraud probe are looking into the alleged misuse of funds by TG Investment Services, set up by two former Credit Suisse bankers, which was managing money on behalf of the bank’s Turkish clients. (Bloomberg)

The family of Jay Clayton, Trump’s pick to run the SEC, owns a stake in a private company that sells services directly regulated by the agency that Mr. Clayton would run. (WSJ)


A new piece in The American Interest examines dirty foreign money’s existential threat to democracy

“Most of [the OCCRP report] appears to be the run-of-the-mill fraud, tax evasion, and capital flight of a kleptocracy. But for Russia, crime and corruption are also often simultaneously used as weaponized tools of statecraft.”

-Brian Whitmore (RFE/RL) on the Russian Laundromat report, and whether some of the black cash was used to advance Russian political interests.

In The Diplomat, Casey Michel details how Manafort’s adventures in shell companies tie him both to the Panama Papers and Central Asia’s offshoring machine–and how shutting down the machine would necessitate Washington owning up to its place in the cycle.

The Guardian takes a stab at the best ways to close down the Russian laundromat

A piece by Euractiv discusses how caviar diplomacy plagues the Council of Europe. (KI hosted an event last month on this subject, video and event information here)

In a video for Bloomberg, the Dubai Financial Services Authority CEO Ian Johnston discusses the need to do more to combat money laundering


Wednesday, March 29:

Ben Judah will discuss kleptocracy and democracy in conjunction with the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Register here

Thursday, March 30: 

KI’s Charles Davidson will be on an upcoming panel at Brookings, ‘One year after the Panama Papers: Progress on anonymous corporate ownership?’ Register here