By Andrew Rosati in Caracas
For a country where consumers are often hard-pressed to find staples like milk or toilet paper, Venezuela certainly has no shortage of scandals. After last month’s accusations of electoral fraud and a saloon-style brawl in congress, now Mario Silva, a TV talk show host, rabble-rouser and the best journalist in Venezuela – according to the late president, Hugo Chávez – has fallen into the fray.
In an extraordinary hour-long recording of what opposition politicians say is a conversation between Silva and a top Cuban intelligence official, the chavista broadcaster delivers a laundry list of backbiting and corruption at the highest levels of chavismo. Venezuelans are wondering what will come next. Continue reading »
Bad news can be especially wearing when it comes as no surprise – when it is met with tired acceptance.
So while some reports expressed shock and surprise, there was, sadly, nothing very shocking about Thursday’s news that three Indian Premier League cricketers and seven bookies have been arrested by Delhi police on charges of spot-fixing, in the latest of many scandals to tarnish India’s most glamorous sporting competition. Continue reading »
By Julie Zhu and Stefan Wagstyl
A Chinese local government official caught entertaining guests to a lavish meal has suffered a spectacular humiliation – thanks to president Xi Jinping’s austerity drive, the internet, and the fury of local people.
Zhang Aihua’s party was broken up by scores of people who invaded the party in an industrial park reception centre. They filmed the scene and watched as he knelt on a dining table and delivered a public apology. His weekend debacle was complete when the clip was distributed on the web (see below). Continue reading »
Corruption is a popular spectator sport in Argentina – at least to judge by the TV ratings of a show by the country’s most prominent investigative journalist. Continue reading »
The earthquake that hit China’s southwestern province of Sichuan on Saturday has exposed a crisis of public confidence in the state-backed Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the country’s biggest charitable organisation.
Right after the quake, the RCSC said on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, that it had sent a team to “inspect” the quake-hit region. Tens of thousands of Chinese microbloggers fired comments back. The message from most of them: “Get lost”. Continue reading »
Bribes at the ready?
A YouTube video appearing to show a Bali traffic policeman teasing a bribe out of an undercover Dutch journalist who had been riding a scooter without a helmet or licence has sparked an online outrage in Indonesia.
The clip has been seen more than 1.2m times since it was posted on April 1, with many online commenters lambasting the policeman for damaging Indonesia’s image by extorting money from a foreign visitor. But is this just a not-so-shocking dose of reality? Continue reading »
China’s new leadership has been making a lot of noise about cracking down on corruption. Now it seems that the military, where things are particularly bad, will start feeling the heat too. From May 1, all military vehicles will get new license plates, Colonel Geng Yansheng, defence ministry spokesman, said Thursday.
New plates would allow the authorities to crack down on the private use of military cars, the misuse of military plates and the abuse of privileges enjoyed by military officers in general. If it works, the move would certainly be popular among long-suffering civilians. Continue reading »
In 11 years as Russia’s central bank governor, Sergey Ignatyev has generally kept a low profile. But he seems to have decided to go out with a bang.
In a Vedomosti newspaper interview on Wednesday, he revealed that nearly $50bn was transferred out of Russia “illegally” in 2012 and more than half the money may have been controlled by a single group of people. That sounds vague. But it isn’t. In Russia, a single group of people could only operate on this scale with the knowledge of those in power. A brave man is Ignatyev. Continue reading »
China’s crackdown on corruption has spawned a new trend in the country’s real estate market: panic sale advertising.
“Civil servant is anxious, anxious, anxious!” screams one ad (pictured below). “Landlord faces asset investigation, desperate to sell” is the hook for another. A third reads: “Official anxious to dump property. First come first served. Five units in all. All are excellent. Absolutely great value. Continue reading »
Enrique Peña Nieto’s clean-cut image is matched by his enthusiasm for transparency, a theme that ran through his election campaign and he has followed through while in power. The Mexican president and his Cabinet recently published audited statements of their personal income, properties and other assets. Continue reading »
How do you tackle corruption? To that age-old question, Rahul Bajaj, the Indian billionaire businessman, has some unconventional answers: “Stop prosecuting givers of small bribes, ban criminals from standing for election, and use the e-ID to transfer benefits directly from the government to the receiver.”
Bajaj was addressing a meeting at the World Economic Forum on how to achieve EM growth in a global slowdown. Corruption was the biggest issue singled out – and the Indian subcontinent figured large. Continue reading »
The trial of those accused of involvement in the mensalão, the scandal by which senior figures in the government of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva allegedly engaged in vote-buying in Congress, may be over. But the ruling Workers’ Party, several of whose leaders were convicted by the Supreme Court, is only now coming to terms with the question of who should pay, literally, for their crimes. Continue reading »
Brazil is still basking in the successful conclusion of its so-called “trial of the century”, the mensalão case, in which senior former members of the government of ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva were convicted of implementing a vote-buying scheme in Congress in the early years of his leadership. The case was hailed as the beginning of the end of Brazil’s culture of impunity, in which politicians and the rich rarely are held accountable for their actions.
The beginning of the end, perhaps – but still very far from the end, unfortunately. Continue reading »
These are hard times for Chinese government officials, it seems: corruption just isn’t what it used to be.
At least that’s the headline finding of Tuesday’s Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2013, which discovered that super-premium Chinese liquor (Moutai) and top end luxury watches are no longer the Chinese millionaire’s favourite gifts. Continue reading »
Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is facing plenty of pressure these days over allegations he was directly involved in the country’s biggest corruption case, the Mensalão.
Now comes an expose of what are supposedly his properties. Continue reading »