Kleptocracy Weekly | October 20, 2017 | Top news and features on globalized corruption

China: Xi Jinping opened the 19th CCP Congress with a three-and-a-half hour speech promising a “new era” for China as a “global power.” He set out “a vision of total control – with the party guiding not only the economy and the Internet but culture, religion and morals, writes Simon Denyer. (WaPo)

Xi cited the “virus” of corruption as the greatest threat to the Party, announced a new anti-graft “superagency”, and promised reforms to brutal shuanggui interrogations of graft suspects. (Guardian, FT, Reuters)

Corruption punishments increased significantly before the Congress. Guo Wengui’s revelations are casting shade over proceedings, writes Lucy Hornby. (FT)

Beijing’s anti-graft hunt is used as a political weapon to consolidate power, writes Wesley Rahn. Xi will likely continue to use it as such until 2022, argues Katsuji Nakazawa. (DW, Nikkei)

Chinese private companies are an illusion, writes Fraser Howie. (Nikkei)

Russia: Why does the Russian general who led a notoriously corrupt anti-organized crime police unit now own $38 million in Miami real estate? Nick Nehemas, Kevin Hall, and Lily Dobrovolskaya investigate. (Miami Herald)

The Kremlin is using laundered fuel sales to secretly fund Taliban fighters against NATO troops. (Times)

The memo taken by Natalia Veselnitskaya to her June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. contained very little about adoptions, but a lot about Bill Browder and the Magnitsky Act. (FP)

The FBI uncovered evidence of “bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering” by Russian nuclear officials to grow their business in U.S. markets – right before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal giving the Kremlin control of large swathes of American uranium. (The Hill)

Further revelations from Cyprus and the Cayman Islands reportedly bring the total known financial dealings between Paul Manafort and Oleg Deripaska to $60 million. (NBC)

Foreign influence: Should UK politicians appear on RT in exchange for cash? Putin threatened restrictions on American media if Russian propaganda outlets are required to register as such in the U.S. (BBC, RFE/RL)

UK: The Azerbaijani Laundromat and other revelations prove that Britain is the“country of choice for every kleptocrat, crook and despot in the world,” Margaret Hodge MP told parliamentary colleagues yesterday. Labour called for a review into the City of London’s role in global money laundering. (Guardian)

U.S. Congress: The Helsinki Commission’s recent emphasis on kleptocracy reinforces a growing appetite on the Hill for confronting globalized corruption. (KI)

Global Magnitsky Act: Canada’s passage of its own legislation shows that “principles and values still mean something,” writes Vladimir Kara-Murza. (World Affairs)

Africa: An investigative report shows how the leaders of seven countries plunder their economies and store wealth in offshore jurisdictions. (ZAM)

Regulators have been asked investigate whether UK banks were involved in the money laundering scandal engulfing Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. The FBI isprobing possible U.S. links. (City AM, FT)

A sports official accused of participating in “one of biggest corruption schemes ever in global sports” is comfortably defiant in Senegal, writes Tariq Panja. (NYT)

Ukraine: A report by the U.S. Helsinki Commission targets Kyiv’s “internal enemy,” highlighting the importance of Ukrainian anti-corruption efforts for U.S. foreign policy.

NABU’s detention of senior defense procurement officials advances suspicions that officials are stealing from a nation at war. (Kyiv Post)

A small victory for anti-corruption protestors, as deputies send a bill on lifting lawmakers’ immunity to the Constitutional Court. (RFE/RL)

North Korea: Hong Kong is the preferred spot for Kim Jong Un’s money launderers, writes Joshua Berlinger. (CNN)

DR Congo: A bank linked to President Kabila is enabling Hezbollah funders to bust U.S. sanctions. (The Sentry)

Cambodia: Illegal sand exports are propping up Cambodia’s dictator, writes Clay Fuller: “like many authoritarians, he knows how to transform markets into tools of political survival.” (AEI)

Panama Papers: Green MEP Sven Giegold calls out EU countries complicit in money laundering. (DW)

Tax data: Rich countries’ failure to share tax information with developing ones under OECD Common Reporting Standards fuels kleptocracy and hurts the poorest,writes Max de Haldevang. (Quartz)

Gambling: A growing scandal in British Columbia’s casino industry exposes the central role of real estate professionals in Chinese money laundering. (Vancouver Sun)

AML: In a detailed study of the effectiveness of suspicious activity reporting, Nick Maxwell and David Artingstall conclude that information-sharing systems are “not working effectively.” (RUSI)

Malta: Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent anti-corruption blogger who exposed Malta’s role in facilitating global corruption, was assassinated in a car bomb near her home village. (BBC)

Compiled by Nate Sibley.

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