Voting is already underway in the state of Maharashtra, with citizens in the city of Mumbai casting their ballot next week.

And to stir things up, National Election Watch has released a new report analysing the financial and criminal records of candidates in the region. The questionable past of many leading figures in Indian politics is, sadly, old news. But the fact that organisations are digging up such detailed information on would-be leaders is a sign of progress in the world’s largest democracy, where governance has become the issue of the day. Continue reading »

By Neelanjan Sircar and Milan Vaishnav

Come election time, a standard trope goes that India is engaged in a relentless tug-of-war between its rural and urban populations. On the one hand sit urban metropolises like Mumbai and Bangalore, whose cosmopolitan citizens rail against corrupt politicians, fetishise growth and care little for parochial concerns, like caste. On the other hand sits India’s vast rural hinterlands, where caste dictates social relations and corruption takes a backseat to basic sustenance. Yet if this divide did once provide an accurate description of the country, there is good reason to doubt it as India heads to the polls in 2014. Continue reading »

Every time it runs an Indian general election, the Election Commission (EC) has to manage the largest democratic exercise in history. This time it will have dealt with up to 825m voters by the time ballots are counted on May 16, and the EC is understandably proud of its logistical efficiency and of its record of ensuring free and fair procedures on the days that people vote. Continue reading »

By Oleg Batyuk

The barricades are still being dismantled in the Maidan but we are already witnessing a significant step-change in how business is done in Ukraine. While the world is watching events in Crimea with fearfully bated breath, Kiev is not losing any time in implementing serious and rapid changes to its business landscape.

A key risk of doing business in Ukraine, particularly in the past five years, has been the spreading culture of corporate raiding. This process is already being reversed. Continue reading »

In India’s current hard-fought Parliamentary elections, every vote counts. So along with the usual process of aggressive campaigning, some parties appear to be resorting to a little old-fashioned political skulduggery to sabotage the prospects of their rivals.

At least, that is that what the upstart Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, Party (AAP) believes is happening to it, especially in its stronghold New Delhi, where an unexpected wave of support for AAP prevented the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning enough seats to form the local government in recent state assembly polls. Continue reading »

By Taras Kuzio

Viktor Yanukovich has been a state official all his working life, first in transport, then as a regional governor of Donetsk, twice as prime minister under presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko and finally as president. Corruption has always plagued the Ukrainian state but the extent of rapacious greed fundamentally increased after Yanukovich was elected. He and Nikolai Azarov, his prime minister, did not focus on economic growth but on asset stripping and corporate raiding. Continue reading »

Indonesia’s powerful corruption commission has a new target. Having gone for members of the president’s inner circle, the country’s highest judge and dozens of parliamentarians, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) now has the lucrative mining industry in its sights.

Adnan Pandu Praja, a deputy chairman of the KPK, told the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Wednesday that the agency was launching a crackdown on corrupt mining companies and some of the government officials, military officers and police who stand behind them. Continue reading »

The Turkish lira fell to a new all-time low against the dollar on Thursday as a corruption probe focused on figures close to the government caused continued upheaval in markets.

The currency has lost around a fifth of its value against the dollar in the last year, with Turkey – reliant on inflows of foreign funds to finance a persistent current account deficit – seen as especially vulnerable to the US Federal Reserve’s imminent withdrawal of monetary stimulus. Continue reading »

Crime, corruption and tax evasion drained nearly $950bn out of developing countries in 2011 according to figures published on Wednesday by US-based money laundering watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI). That’s about ten times the $93.8bn in official overseas aid invested in those countries in the same year.

That sounds like a lot but the true costs may have been much higher. Continue reading »

Poland has the EU’s best growth record in the last five years, but there is a growing awareness that keeping growth high is going to be increasingly difficult in the future – which is why two recent reports on corruption and educational achievements make such good news. Continue reading »

Angola and Brazil have a lot in common: the Portuguese tongue, a delightful stretch of Atlantic coast and a reputation for beautiful people cavorting in beach-side bars. Brazil is Latin America’s powerhouse; Angola likes to think of itself, with some justification, as Africa’s emerging equivalent.

To oilmen and investors, however, the most intriguing thing the two nations share is a piece of geology that dates from the age of the dinosaurs, before the tectonic shifts that rent the landmass in which they were once conjoined. Continue reading »

Justice in action

For the first time in their country’s recent history, Brazilians finally had a taste of seeing politicians going to jail for corruption.

Last Friday – symbolically, the same day that the Proclamation of the Republic is celebrated in Brazil – the court decreed prison for a group of 12 politicians and bankers involved in the scandal of Mensalão or ‘big monthly payment’, the vote-buying scheme in Congress that used public funds to pay bribes. Continue reading »

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich sounded deadly serious during a passionate speech he gave on his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption on Wednesday.

Himself accused of corrupt practices for the way he managed to occupy a lavish estate in a Kiev suburb, it was delivered at a World Economic Forum event in Kiev, a gathering to discuss the nation’s future as the EU summit nears in later this month in Vilnius. But hang on: wasn’t the EBRD supposed to be in town to sign a new anti-corruption Continue reading »

The World Bank’s ease of doing business indicators are very important. If you are, say, the Macedonian trade minister, you will know your country’s ranking – and you will cite it at every opportunity to boost foreign investment. (It’s 25, by the way.)

But behind the scenes is a conflict between several countries over how these rankings are compiled. To some, the methodology is biased in favour of outright deregulation. To others it takes no account of levels of corruption. China is trying hard – with little success so far – to influence the process. Continue reading »

By Bruce Misamore

Ten years ago this month my friend and business colleague, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested at gunpoint in Novosibirsk – the start of a chain of state-sponsored intimidation and corruption in Russia. There is no doubt that the hand of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin was very much at the steering wheel for this very public and televised event. The shock of this political act reverberated around the world – no more so than in the boardroom at Yukos Oil Company headquarters. Continue reading »