Category Archives: CORRUPTION

Retired HEAD OF FBI Tells ALL “Illuminati, Satanism, Pedophile Rings” VIDEO REVEALS ALL

Henry Sapiecha

Chinese ex-leader Zhou Yongkang charged with corruption

Former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang image www.intelagencies.com

The former all-powerful head of China’s secret police, Zhou Yongkang, has been expelled from the ruling Communist party and accused of leaking state secrets, taking bribes and fornication, becoming the most senior official felled by President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article.

The move, announced by China’s state-owned media on Friday, underscored President Xi’s willingness to press ahead with a purge of “tigers” and “flies” that has ensnared hundreds of thousands of officials, executives at state-owned firms and businessmen.

FirstFT is our new essential daily email briefing of the best stories from across the web

It was the first time he has acted against a former member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, which in effect rules China.

Mr Zhou was formally placed under investigation this summer. Sometimes referred to as the “Dick Cheney of China”, Mr Zhou was the most feared of China’s top leaders because of his position as head of the internal security services, the police and the courts, and his connections in the state-owned energy sector.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article.

A bona fide “tiger” with allies throughout the provinces, energy firms and security apparatus, Mr Zhou had backed a bid for power by Mr Xi’s rival, the charismatic populist Bo Xilai, another senior leader jailed for corruption.

“What Zhou Yongkang did entirely violated the party’s nature and purpose, severely violated the party line, and damaged the party image, causing great losses for the party and people. His influence is extremely odious,” the People’s Daily said in an editorial.

Although he has been under investigation since earlier this year, the fate of Mr Zhou had been uncertain amid tensions in the upper echelons of the party about a corruption drive that is seen as a way of consolidating President Xi’s power.

But Mr Zhou’s expulsion from the party — and accompanying charges of fornication as well as corruption — implies that remaining support for him has crumbled, perhaps under the onslaught of investigations into prominent military figures as well as provincial officials linked to powerful former leaders.

The FT earlier reported that former top leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao had expressed discomfort with the extent of the purge.

Many party elders believe that Mr Xi has set a dangerous precedent by violating the taboo against investigating retired members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the most powerful body in China. A gentleman’s agreement that they could retire in peace has helped ensure relatively peaceful transitions of power in China in recent years.

Mr Zhou is accused of leaking “party and state secrets”, taking bribes directly or through his family, abusing his power to the benefit of his family, mistresses and friends and “fornication with many women”.

The procedural step means that Mr Zhou can now be tried in a criminal court. Communist party internal procedures take precedence over law in China.

The announcement was made in a co-ordinated release by all major state-controlled news portals at midnight on Friday. It came just after the country’s inaugural “Constitution Day”, honouring rule through legal means.

Additional reporting by Gu Yu

Henry Sapiecha

The world’s most corrupt countries ranked in these graphs & maps

worlds most corrupt countries in map image www.intelagencies.com

Somalia and North Korea are tied as the worlds most corrupt countries, according to a survey released by Transparency International.

The Corruption Perceptions Index 2014 is based upon “expert opinion” and measures the “perceived levels of public sector corruption”.

“A poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs,” writes the survey’s authors.

Countries that are the least corrupt are Denmark at number one and New Zealand at number two respectively.

Canada ranked 10th with Australia just below it at 11th. The USA was 17th

rank-index corrupt countries chart image www.intelagencies.com

Here is the organization’s infographic from the study.

infographic on the worlds corrupt countries rankings image www.intelagencies.com

ooo

Henry Sapiecha

IS THE ABBOTT SCHOLARSHIP TO DAUGHTER ON THE LEVEL & OK?

If only Freya Newman could have tipped off ICAC

Some say it is in order, others say very naughty

Freya Newman leaves court after being handed a good behaviour bond image www.intelagencies.com

Yesterday’s sentencing outcome for the whistleblower who revealed Frances Abbott’s scholarship shows just how petty the case was. It also shows how much we need a Commonwealth anti-corruption body, writes Michael Bradley.

Freya Newman hasn’t suffered quite as much as Alfred Dreyfus, but the notoriety of her name has similarly transcended the actual significance of her legal case and become a cause célèbre for freedom fighters of all stripes.

Both those flying the standard of our right to privacy, and the advocates of our right to know, are busily flogging poor Freya’s remaining personal dignity to death.

You know when an issue has gone into fantasy overdrive when Christopher Pyne chooses to tweet about it, as he did yesterday. Does the sentencing decision of a NSW Local Court magistrate warrant the personal intervention of the Federal Minister for Education? Apparently so.

Freya Newman revealed that Frances Abbott had received a $60,000 scholarship image www.intelagencies.com

For all the grand declaiming, the reality is that Freya is a victim of politics. Had her crime not embarrassed the Prime Minister, she would never have been charged. Nor would she now be receiving favourable comparisons with Joan of Arc from the large number of members of Team Australia who actually hate the team captain.

Time for some dispassionate analysis. First, the facts. The Whitehouse Institute is a private tertiary body. It awarded Frances Abbott, the then opposition leader’s daughter, a scholarship which saved her family more than $60,000 in fees. The scholarship was not advertised and its existence was never made public. The Institute insists it was offered on the basis of academic merit but has offered nothing to substantiate this claim. The Institute’s chairman was a substantial donor to the Liberal Party, and has confirmed that he “probably” recommended Ms Abbott for the scholarship.

It smells pretty bad, as some senior staff members at the Institute thought. Freya Newman was 20 years old and a junior part time employee. She was told by more senior staff where she could access information regarding the scholarship in the Institute’s computer system, and encouraged to do so using another staff member’s log in details. She did it, and then she resigned.

The Institute wanted to press charges, and Ms Newman was charged under s308H(1) of the Crimes Act with obtaining unauthorised access to restricted data held in a computer. The maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment. Ms Newman promptly pleaded guilty. The prosecution accepted that her offence was at the lowest end of the range of severity. The magistrate decided that the fair result was to record no conviction, but with a two-year good behaviour bond attached. Ms Newman’s youth, and her altruistic motivation, appear to have been significant factors in the magistrate’s mind. Any harsher outcome would have been ridiculous.

ooo

The case does raise important questions. It has been pointed out that, had the Institute been a public university, Ms Newman would most likely have been protected by whistleblower laws. Given that the Prime Minister’s family obtained a substantial financial benefit from the scholarship, was there not a legitimate public interest in the disclosure? Should there be any difference if the alleged giving of favours comes from a private entity rather than a public one? Therefore, should not Freya Newman be lauded as a heroine rather than charged with a crime?

This is a very difficult question. The Whitehouse Institute is a private entity and is entitled to privacy. It is not in the same position as a government body or publicly funded organisation. If it wants to give away scholarships in a manner which undermines its pretensions to integrity, it can do so. That isn’t a crime; it’s just grubby.

However, there is a valid public interest in knowing what happened here, because corporate sector lobbying is a cancer on democratic politics and because we’re entitled to know if our Prime Minister is being compromised.

If the problem is stated as being that, absent Freya Newman’s actions, we’d never have found out about this, then the short answer is this: actually, the reason we didn’t know about it is that the Prime Minister failed to comply with his parliamentary disclosure obligations. He is supposed to disclose financial benefits, and he has not explained why he didn’t disclose the scholarship. The disclosure requirement exists to ensure any perceived risks of influence are exposed, with the subsidiary benefit that insiders with knowledge won’t face Ms Newman’s moral and legal dilemma.

But, he didn’t disclose it and the dilemma arose. Where then is the correct balance between private rights and the public interest? It’s not that what Ms Newman did shouldn’t be a crime. Certainly it should only be a minor offence unless there are serious aggravating factors. The sentencing outcome underlines how petty this was.

Part of the answer has been loudly shouted lately by our chief law officer, Attorney General George Brandis. On the unrelated topic of the jailing of journalists for disclosing ASIO operations, he has been going on about how the Director of Public Prosecutions is obliged to consider the public interest before launching any prosecution. The same principle applies to all prosecuting authorities.

It’s certainly arguable that the prosecutorial discretion ought to have been exercised in Freya Newman’s case to recognise that she was collateral damage in a much larger war and that there was no public interest in inflicting more punishment on her than she had already suffered.

And there’s another answer. If the Prime Minister had been a NSW parliamentarian, ICAC would have had jurisdiction to investigate. An anonymous tip-off would have sufficed and ICAC’s coercive powers would have done the rest.

In the end, that’s what the Freya Newman case really means: we badly need an anti-corruption body in the Commonwealth sphere, with all the powers of ICAC and the ability to protect whistleblowers no matter where they work.

Michael Bradley is the managing partner of Marque Lawyers, a boutique Sydney law firm. View his full profile here.

Henry Sapiecha

Australia about to seize assets of corrupt Chinese officials

chinese money handed over image www.intelagencies.com

China is seeking Australia’s help in arresting citizens on corruption charges – but questions remain. Photo: Bloomberg

Beijing: The Australian Federal Police are poised to seize assets of corrupt Chinese officials within weeks, in an unprecedented joint operation with their Chinese counterparts.

In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, Commander Bruce Hill, the manager of the AFP’s operations in Asia, has confirmed Australia has agreed to assist China in the extradition and seizure of assets of corrupt officials who have fled to Australia with illicit funds running into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The joint operation will make their first forfeiture of assets within weeks, having agreed on a priority list of alleged economic fugitives who have taken residence in Australia – identified by Beijing as one of the most popular outlets for corrupt Chinese money.

Among the suspects identified by the AFP are naturalised Australian citizens and permanent residents who for years have laundered money under the guise of being genuine investment or business migrants from China.

“They don’t all of a sudden leave overnight and take a bag of money with them. In some cases they’re very carefully planned,” Commander Hill said, who explained that a typical scenario involves officials sending their spouses and children overseas, often using them as a conduit to shift assets offshore. With barely any assets to their name, the so-called “naked official” – as is the popular term for them in China – is then able to join their family overseas at the first whiff of trouble.

“As time goes on, they start to put [their funds] into legitimate assets such as houses and property and shares and bank accounts and then the money becomes their wealth,” Mr Hill, who is based in Beijing, said. “But it’s never been their money to start with in the first place; it’s the corrupt money flowing out of China.”

The sums of money believed to have been spirited out from China are staggering. The Washington-based Global Financial Integrity group, which analyses illicit financial flows, estimates that $US3 trillion flowed out of China illegally between 2005 and 2011.

Since taking power in November 2012, President Xi Jinping has directed a wide-ranging anti-corruption drive aimed at regaining credibility from a public disillusioned with endemic graft in the Communist Party, while also striking fear into his opponents.

The impetus for the joint operation has come from a campaign launched in July – called Operation Fox Hunt – to track down corrupt officials overseas, and to deter others from absconding.

“It’s extremely difficult for public servants to go abroad now,” said Lin Zhe, an anti-corruption expert at the ruling Communist Party’s in-house training institution, the Central Party School.

“The passports of department heads and above are withheld by the Organisation Department. When I first came to the Central Party School, there were many [international] exchanges, but this rarely happens now.”

The priority list agreed between the Ministry of Public Security and the AFP was culled from a broader list of “less than a hundred people”, Mr Hill said, adding that the assets being pursued by China in Australia were in the “many hundreds of millions of dollars”.

Mr Hill said the AFP were not party to any information Chinese investigators may hold relating to Communist Party links that a suspect may have.

“We only see what’s on face value, this person has committed an offence,” he said. “There is a human rights side; we need to make sure that we’re monitoring that as well, that this is not done for political expediency where we can.”

The federal government’s Significant Investor Visa scheme has proven overwhelmingly popular among Chinese investors, who account for 90 per cent of applicants so far. But the difficulty in verifying the source of Chinese income had led to delays in approvals.

In announcing a new “premium” investor visa last week, which allows applicants who invest $15 million to gain permanent residency after one year, the government said it would “strengthen integrity measures” to ensure the migration programme was not misused.

Asked if the new visa class could lead to more corrupt officials fleeing to China, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said it hoped to work with Australia to “trace fugitives and retrieve embezzlement from overseas”.

“The corrupt should find no safe haven in foreign countries,” he said.

With an extradition treaty with China yet to be ratified, Australia ranks high among the preferred destinations for Chinese economic fugitives, along with the United States and Canada. The Attorney-General can consider extradition requests for offences under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which Australia and China are both parties.

But immigration protection laws mean those accused have a series of claims, including applying for asylum, to avoid facing court back in China.

“All criminals will always go where the weakest link is,” Mr Hill said. “In the interim we’re trying to develop strategies to make sure these people don’t think they can just go to Australia and live happily ever after.”

Henry Sapiecha

Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) raids home of ex-detective Mick Featherstone who has alleged links to gambling scams

Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) raids home of ex-detective Mick Featherstone who has alleged links to gambling scams image www.intelagencies.com

Investigators have raided the home of a former Queensland police detective alleged to have been involved in gambling scams worth millions of dollars.

The ABC’s 7:30 revealed last month that Mick Featherstone, a former Gold Coast detective turned private investigator, is being investigated by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) as part of a major probe into a network of Gold Coast-based sports betting syndicates.

The program detailed evidence obtained by the ABC showing Mr Featherstone’s close involvement in the setting up and running of online gambling companies alleged to have defrauded people across Australia of millions of dollars.

Officers from the CCC have since raided the Upper Coomera home of Mr Featherstone and his wife Zoei, removing phones and computer equipment.

Similar action was taken at the home of Mr Featherstone’s son Zach, who works for Phoenix Global, Mr Featherstone’s Southport-based private investigation company.

Henry Sapiecha