The news from Transparency International is not good.

This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) reveals that a majority of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.

Our analysis also shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.

Corruption is difficult to quantify, so the worldwide anti-corruption group ranks 180 countries and territories by their “perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.”

It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43. Similar to previous years, the data shows that despite some progress, a majority of countries are still failing to tackle public sector corruption effectively. 

The report takes a close look at money and politics this year and concludes that the analysis “suggests that reducing big money in politics and promoting inclusive political decision-making are essential to curb corruption.”

There was good news too.


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Dankse Bank Money-launderingA report released by Bloomberg today states that criminal investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice have contacted Deutsche Bank AG and Bank of America Corp. about transactions they handled for the small Danske Bank branch in Estonia that’s at the center of one of the biggest money-laundering investigations in history. The investigators are also questioning JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s work with the branch.
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The Economic Community of West African States’, or ECOWAS, recently held a weeklong anti-corruption meeting in Monrovia, Liberia. Attendees included 13 West African countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Arms, and international partners. As Tunde Ajisomo, ECOWAS ambassador to Liberia noted, “Fighting corruption is everybody’s business, but we need to put in place

Sergei Magnitsky
        Sergei Magnitsky

On December 6, 2012 Congress passed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. (Magnitsky Act). The law was inspired by a Russian lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky, detained in 2008 after he blew the whistle on a $230 million tax fraud scheme involving the collaboration of Russian government officials and convicted criminals. He was arrested for his whistleblowing and detained for nearly a year before he was beaten to death in prison.

In October 2012, Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, interviewed Jamison Firestone, the law partner and friend of Sergei Magnitsky. Mr. Firestone related the horrific yet compelling tale of what happened from the time Mr. Magnitsky uncovered the tax fraud until his death at the hands of the Russian authorities. Listen to the interview.

The passing of the Magnitsky Act is a major step forward in the protection of international whistleblowers. This is the first time the U. S. Government has passed a bill in recognition of the hardship and sacrifice of international whistleblowers. This move sets important precedence for the advancement of increased protections for whistleblowers throughout the world. In addition to the Magnitsky Act, the U.S. Congress has significantly enhanced protections for international whistleblowers through the reward provisions applicable to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and under the IRS Whistleblower law, which allows foreign nationals to blow the whistle on U.S. tax evaders in other countries.


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An article written by Bradley Birkenfeld appears in the Spring 2010 issue of World Policy Journal. The “Crime + Corruption” issue examines how corruption occurs, its effect on society, and how to stop it. Birkenfeld’s article, “Inside the Cartel,” is displayed in the “Upfront” section of the journal, which gives readers first-hand insight into corruption schemes across the globe.
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Transparency International (TI) just released its “Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector (GCR).” In it, more than 75 experts examine a wide range of corruption issues around the world.

In this post, I would like to introduce several whistleblowing issues around the world based on the report.

The report emphasizes that “recognizing the role of whistleblowers” is one of key elements of good corporate governance, mentioning “employees are the single most important group of actors capable of detecting corporate fraud and as such they represent an extraordinarily important pillar in the system of checks and balances that comprise corporate governance.”


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