New on the KI website:
- Belinda Li says the EB-5 investor visa scheme continues to pose fraud and national security risks.
- Casey Michel talks to Aaron Klein of the Brookings Institution aboutchallenges to the United States’ outdated anti-money laundering regime.
- Trump’s inaugural committee took $1 million from a Russian-American whose money the GOP rejected; The committee also took $1 million from Access Industries, which is owned by Russian oligarch Len Blavatnik. (Quartz)
- A USA TODAY investigation discovered that anyone could potentially buy multimillion dollar condos from President Trump–since election day, they’ve sold 14 properties for more than $23 million. Half the buyers were shell companies, with no person named in the deeds.
- The House Intelligence Committee sent one of its members to the Mediterranean country where Wilbur Ross, Paul Manafort, and sanction-dodging oligarchs have all had money – Cyprus. (The Daily Beast)
- A mysterious Turkish organization gave a former U.S. homeland security adviser a $400,000 contract to improve public perceptions of Turkey, deepening questions about the country’s attempts to influence U.S. politics and the limited transparency surrounding them. (The Daily Beast)
- An Oregon legislative committee passed a sweeping piece of legislation designed to rein in abusive, anonymous companies. (Portland Business Journal)
- Global Witness has a new online tool that allows you to search for anonymous companies—or their victims—in an interactive map.
- Exxon Mobil applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its joint venture with Russian state oil giant Rosneft; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is Exxon’s former CEO. (WSJ)
- More than £6 million from funds at the center of a giant fraud which was being investigated by Sergei Magnitsky has allegedly been traced to a UK bank account held by Renaissance Capital. (The Telegraph)
- The Financial Times discussed how London’s housing crisis is abetted by illicit funds.
- Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat officially denied allegations that large sums of money have been transferred from an Azerbaijani bank account to the three offshore Panama companies. (Malta Today)
- Thousands of Slovaks joined a rally to protest against corruption and demand the resignation of the interior minister, a close ally of Prime Minister Robert Fico, over his ties with a developer under investigation for tax fraud. (Reuters)
- “Russian-based organized crime groups in Europe have been used for a variety of purposes, including as sources of ‘black cash’, to launch cyber attacks, to wield political influence, to traffic people and goods, and even to carry out targeted assassinations on behalf of the Kremlin.” -Mark Galeotti in his new report on how the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe.
- A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system. (Reuters)
- “The weakness of [Xi’s] corruption crackdown [is that] among the elite, the campaign touches only those who are already on the losing side of factional power struggles.” –New York Times piece in which a Chinese billionaire who argues that corruption in China is greater than imagined.
- South Korean prosecutors indicted its former president on 18 charges including bribery and coercion, taking aim at the central figure in a corruption scandal that has led to more than 30 indictments of high-profile government and business figures, including Samsung Group’s de facto leader. (WSJ)
- A landmark global corruption settlement with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA was cut during the sentencing in Brooklyn federal court yesterday; the firm was ordered to pay $2.6 billion to the governments of Brazil, Switzerland and the U.S. The company admitted to running bribery schemes over the course of 15 years in more than a dozen countries that led to $3.34 billion in ill-gotten “benefits.” (WSJ)
- The impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo has introduced biometric passports, but most of that money does not go to the state. Instead millions of dollars go to a private company in the Gulf – and sources say it is owned by a relative of President Joseph Kabila. (Reuters)