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 »
Ever been put off buying property in emerging markets because of a lack of market transparency? Well, it may be time to think again.
EM countries such as Turkey, until recently plagued by uncertainty, have made huge strides in real estate transparency, according to the latest biannual survey by Jones Lang Lasalle, an international real estate agent. Continue reading »
India’s top lobbyist Niira Radia, who represented the country’s two most powerful tycoons, Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, has decided to exit the PR business a year after leaked tapes dragged her into the centre of the country’s multi-billion dollar telecoms scandal.
Her departure will rob Indian public life of a colourful character and reduce by one the myriad channels by which Indian business tries to influence Indian politics. But her exit may be no bad thing for India’s scandal-tarnished democracy. Continue reading »
To the casual observer, South Africa might look like something of a poor relation at this week’s Brics summit on the lush Chinese island of Hainan. At 3.5 per cent, its expected GDP growth this year is by far the lowest in this club of high-growth economies. Its gross domestic product last year was just $357bn, about one-sixteenth of China’s.
Yet when it comes to transparency and business standards, the other Brics could learn a thing or two from their new drinking buddy. Continue reading »
By Nick Watson of Business New Europe
Once feted in Ukraine as the country’s star foreign investor, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, is discovering the every day realities of dealing with Ukraine’s officials are anything but stellar.
After successfully fighting off what it called an attempt to renationalise its Ukrainian steel mill last October, the Luxemburg-based group must have breathed a sigh of relief. But the respite, it seems, was only temporary. Continue reading »
One year into his presidential term, has Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich started to deliver on his pledges to cut corruption, reduce red tape and improve the country’s miserable investment climate?
The honest answer is “not really”, although the generous might be inclined to say “not yet”. With the International Monetary Fund supervising the economy under the terms of a $15.5bn rescue loan, the administration should be working over-time to clean up business life. It is not. Continue reading »
As far as Russia is concerned, the WikiLeaks disclosures don’t add a lot to the sum of human knowledge. Government officials from the US and elsewhere are quoted publicly saying what they have long claimed in private – that Russia is governed by a corrupt elite dominated by the security services and linked to organised crime.
The question is what impact will these allegations have on the behaviour of Russia’s leaders headed by Vladimir Putin, the “alpha dog” prime minister, who plays “Batman” to president Dmitry Medvedev’s “Robin”, as the leaked cables so memorably put it. Continue reading »
Argentina has a domestic equivalent to the Wikileaks scandal: a Buenos Aires court is currently scrutinising more than 20,000 emails from the computer of a top aide to the former transport minister. Among a variety of allegations, the court is examining whether the ex-minister, Ricardo Jaime, paid subsidies over the purchase of train rolling stock based on false receipts. His lawyer has noted none of the emails is from, or addressed to, Mr Jaime, and he has denied other allegations being investigated including that companies picked up the rental bill for flats he lived in. Continue reading »
How do 25 anti-fraud investigators track €347bn ($454bn) of taxpayers’ money? The question is at the heart of a new FT investigation into the European Union’s structural funds – monies which are meant to boost the group’s weakest economies. The funds may be well-intentioned, but the investigation finds that there’s often little oversight and much waste.
Structural funds matter to emerging Europe: the risk of losing them was, according to some analysts, crucial in Hungary’s recent commitment to a lower budget deficit. So accusations of irregularities are likely to cause alarm. Readers can access the FT’s investigation online at www.ft.com/eufunds, with stories, analysis and graphics published throughout this week. The highlights include: an analysis of how Poland has successfully spent its funds on road-building; a look at the difficulties in investigating fraud (Wednesday); and recommendations for the reform of the structural funds (Friday). In an age of austerity, with regional solidarity already faltering, Europe needs to get more bang for its buck.
While the world digests the latest Wikileaks releases, India is almost choking on a leaks scandal of its own.
Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group, the country’s most respected company, on Monday went to the Supreme Court to try to stop the circulation of taped phone conversations. With the alleged contents whizzing around the sub-continent’s internet, his efforts may be fruitless. But his actions highlight how a spate of recent political scandals is hitting India’s reputation as a place for doing business. Continue reading »