$21 Million in Assets Seized in South African Corruption Inquiry

Law enforcement officials raided the compound of a family close to former President Jacob Zuma of South Africa on Monday as part of an investigation into corruption at a government dairy farm project. Accompanied by the news media, about 20 officials seized assets totaling about $21 million at the Johannesburg residence of the Guptas, three Indian brothers who built a business empire through their ties to Mr. Zuma, his family and political allies.

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2018-04-18T13:54:55+00:00

Argentina’s Top Spy Accused in Brazil Corruption Case

Law enforcement officials in Brazil on Thursday accused the director of Argentina’s intelligence agency of receiving $850,000 as part of a money-laundering scheme that involved front companies in several Brazilian cities. The accusation against the Argentine intelligence chief, Gustavo Arribas, who owns several real estate properties in Brazil, is the first time a senior Argentine official in President Mauricio Macri’s administration has been accused in Brazil’s wide-ranging corruption investigation known as Lava Jato, or Car Wash. Mr. Arribas was an unconventional choice for the job when Mr. Macri appointed him in December 2015. He had no public service experience and had made a living as an agent and broker for professional soccer players. Mr. Arribas, who has not been criminally charged, said in a statement that he had “no ties” to the Car Wash case. He added that he had once been wired $70,475 for the sale of furniture in an apartment, and suggested that he had been maliciously implicated in an Argentine court in the past. He did not respond to a request for an interview. The allegations against Mr. Arribas, which make no mention of his current job, come as Mr. Macri is vowing to make sweeping changes to Argentina’s judicial and regulatory agencies to root out an entrenched culture of corruption.

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2018-03-06T09:36:13+00:00

Guatemala Arrests Ex-President and His Finance Minister in Corruption Case

Former President Álvaro Colom of Guatemala and his finance minister, who is now the chairman of Oxfam International, were arrested Tuesday in a graft case that is the latest chapter in the country’s sweeping attack on corruption. The police arrested Mr. Colom and nine former members of his cabinet in early-morning raids after a long-running investigation into fraud involving a new bus system in Guatemala City. Mr. Colom is the fourth former president of Guatemala to face corruption charges as a result of investigations led by an international panel of prosecutors trying to break up networks of corruption and end impunity. Mr. Colom and his former finance minister, Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, appeared at an initial court hearing in Guatemala City along with other former cabinet members, and were then placed in detention until a hearing scheduled for next week. Mr. Fuentes Knight, a well-regarded economist, has been the chairman of Oxfam International, a confederation of charitable organizations, since 2015. “For us, everything was legal,” Mr. Colom, a social democrat who was Guatemala’s president from 2008 to 2012, said before the hearing. “I am sure there will be nothing at the end.”

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2018-02-15T09:34:59+00:00

Brazil Shuts Down Successful Corruption-Fighting Task Force

Brazil’s Federal Police announced this week that it would shut down a crusading anticorruption task force, drawing a rebuke from prosecutors who warned the move could throttle investigations that have exposed systemic corruption among the country’s political and business elites. The decision comes as President Michel Temer, who is among the politicians facing criminal charges stemming from the unit’s work, is scrambling to shore up support among lawmakers to to avoid trial over bribery allegations. The Federal Police, which announced the shift on Thursday, characterized it as a bureaucratic reshuffling of personnel and resources that would increase efficiency. In a statement, it said that members of the team known as the Lava Jato, or Car Wash, task force would be absorbed into the organization’s main anticorruption division to more effectively “fight against corruption and money laundering and facilitate the exchange of information.” Members of the task force, the country’s national association of prosecutors and the federation of Federal Police officers scoffed at that rationale. 

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2017-07-10T14:40:26+00:00