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corruption

One can understand the logic - the Malaysian government has a tendency to make its laws out of the public eye, then to announce an in-force date and then, when everyone moans they aren't ready, to postpone it. Getting a postponement works for e.g. so-called "e-hailing" drivers. The public likes them and so a few hashtags go a long way. But there is little public sympathy for companies and even less when there is a suggestion that the new law is designed to reduce corruption.

The Basel Institute on Governance has had an interesting idea. Is it more than a pipedream?

The NCA has been granted freezing orders on eight bank accounts containing a total of more than GBP100 million, which is suspected to have derived from bribery and corruption in an overseas nation.

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In Australia and elsewhere, the multitude of actions relating to bribery and corruption at Leighton Holdings (see here ) continues in both the criminal and civil courts.

Just because a CFO has his hand on the cheque book doesn't mean he can write cheques for anything he likes.

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Malaysia is being ever so nice to US headquartered bank Goldman Sachs which, through its Singapore Office, it is now known from the evidence given by one of its former staff, Tim Leissner, to have assisted in the theft and laundering of part of the now infamous 1MDB fund.

The bank, which is now seeking to take on new staff in the relevant department in Singapore, has been asked to give back the estimated USD600 million in fees it took for its assistance. Iit's at least arguable that Malaysia doesn't have to ask nicely: it could just take the money. GS doesn't want to pay out in every direction: it's already accepted the probability of "significant fines" in the US as a result of an investigation there.

Here's a step-by-step guide to getting the money back without the bank's co-operation.

It's a story that isn't gripping Malaysia: in 2015, a helicopter crash resulted in the deaths of several prominent members of the government of then Prime Minister Najib that Najib's office said was carrying guests from a wedding reception for Najib's daughter. Now, in an action before the Shariah High Court in Kuala Lumpur, there's a dispute over the very substantial estate of one of the politicians. So far, in a country obsessed with 1MBD, no one is asking loudly how such wealth was accumulated by one man in a life in public service.

While there is global fascination with the case against Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak, who has been charged with offences that, at present, do not include money laundering, the world is seeing an unprecedented range of cases brought against politicians and those close to them. Has the tide turned and are politicians, previously considered largely untouchable, now legitimate targets?

In Malaysia, one of the successes of former Prime Minister Najib is something he won't get credit for - and something which is so ironic that it's almost hypocritical. But it's very, very welcome anyway.

FCRO Subsection: 

Last Wednesday, Malaysians voted to boot their sixth prime minister, Najib, out of office. As the new government set about being formed, it became clear that many senior appointments would be terminated and some not too kindly. Thursday and Friday were public holidays. Saturday and Sunday were days off. Today the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission walked into his office and submitted his letter of resignation. (free content)

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As the euphoria of the overturning of a much disliked government wanes, there are several important matters to deal with.

Perhaps the most difficult will be the question of corruption which has been endemic and systemic for many years.

Strangely, the one person who might be credited with kick-starting the widespread rejection of corruption might be the one person who is first amongst those whose conduct will be open to question.

As China continues is increasingly effective "Operation Fox Hunt" against corrupt officials who have left China with their spoils, or sent their money abroad in the hope of hiding it, there is growing co-operation between Chinese authorities and those in the countries where people and/or assets are located. Australia is one country that has been helping. But a thorny old question remains.

A municipal manager, Sindile Tantsi, has been suspended while South Africa's National Prosecutiing Authority investigate allegations of corruption. Meanwhile, his car, a Mercedes Benz has been seized - along with its car-port.

A startling report published by Malaysia's state media company and widely disseminated raises questions over the granting of loans and the checks made on borrowers. It also raises the question of what problems might follow.

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The continuing saga of South Korean president PARK Geun-Hye is gripping the South East Asian nation while the rest of the world looks on with mild interest and wonders just how many kinds of kimchi there are. To ignore it would be a mistake.

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