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Scott Pruitt’s scandals aren’t so bad—by Russian standards

Posted on by Marion Williams

Shruti Shah of Coalition for Integrity discusses the Pruitt scandal with Quartz, comparing it to growing up in India under systemic corruption and the frustration experienced by citizens when they can’t hold those in power accountable. Read more

LePage promised transparency, but multimillion-dollar contract awards remain in the shadows (Bangor Daily News)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

Each year, Maine state government uses millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase thousands of goods and services from outside organizations. The conversation about contracting transparency is relevant now because the LePage administration has switched up longstanding contracts and outsourced existing government services, often without extensive explanation.

 

“Contract publication can help journalists and citizen watchdog groups to monitor decisions and ensure that decision makers are held accountable,” said Shruti Shah, vice president of programs and operations for the advocacy group Transparency International-USA. Read more

Trump sold $1.5 billion of condos to potential money launderers thanks to this gaping loophole (Quartz)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

Shell companies can provide an extraordinary level of secrecy, making it impossible for even the seller to know who they’re making a deal with. That helps out a huge array of people who want to hide illicit funds. As Shruti Shah of anti-corruption NGO Coalition for Integrity puts it, shell firms’ secrecy makes them “a favorite tool for just about any criminal from tax evaders and money launderers to drug traffickers and kleptocrats.” Read more

Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos to Unknown Buyers (Buzzfeed news)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

“It’s not that common for someone to buy expensive real estate with cash, and if it’s a shell company, you want to find out who the buyer is and the sources of their funds,” said Shruti Shah, vice president of programs and operations at the Coalition for Integrity, an anti-corruption group. “It could be illicit money from foreign corruption, drug trafficking, human trafficking – all sorts of bad things.” Read more

Shruti Shah and Marian Currinder: Friends don’t shower money and gifts on friends (FCPA Blog)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

The McDonnell decision has likely made it easier for politicians to engage in ethically questionable behavior. In the absence of much stricter gift laws or precedent changing court decisions, what can be done? For one, politicians can simply pledge to not accept extravagant gifts from their friends. Read more

Shruti Shah: Every big corruption story features anonymous companies (FCPA Blog)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

How much do “ordinary folk” benefit from secret offshore structures when the main beneficiaries are a wealthy minority, often expats? The ability to conceal illicitly obtained funds fuels corruption, breeds instability and diverts resources from those who should benefit. Read more

Shruti Shah: Paradise Papers show need to close beneficial owner loopholes (FCPA Blog)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

While shell companies have legitimate uses, their opacity makes them a favorite tool for tax evaders, money launderers, corrupt public officials and other criminals. The leaks also shine a light on the role of offshore tax havens. Read more

ISO 37001: Coalition for Integrity’s recommendations for companies considering certification

Posted on by Jane Hagan

In general, any independent review exercise, whether it leads to a certification or not, can help companies take a critical look at their program, detect potential gaps, and ultimately help strengthen their compliance program. However, business is not static and a certification is not an assurance that the program will continue operating effectively even as the corporate environment changes. Read more

Did a rich Miamian help rig the Olympic site selection? Investigators want to know (Miami Herald)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

Shruti Shah of the anti-corruption nonprofit Transparency International USA, said being connected to several businesses is legal, but makes it difficult to get a comprehensive look at companies. “The problem is you can open companies without having to disclose who really beneficially owns these companies,” she said. Read more

Shruti Shah: Six bills in Congress (so far) target anonymous companies (FCPA Blog)

Posted on by Jane Hagan

The United States has been subject to increased criticism for its lax approach to anonymous companies, particularly in the aftermath of the Panama Papers. However, there are recent and positive signs that the U.S. is beginning to address the potential threat that anonymous companies pose to our security and economy. Read more

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