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Category: Corruption

Panama Papers: why we’re looking at global corruption the wrong way

Written by Paul M Heywood.

Although the size and scale of the Panama Papers leak was shocking, the offshore dealing they revealed was hardly a surprise. After all, many organisations, including Transparency International, Global Witness, Action Aid, Christian Aid, Corruption Watch, and Tax Justice Network have long expressed their concerns about money laundering and the role of enablers.

The Panama Papers have revealed a lot about the ways in which the rich and powerful hide their wealth – and many of them are legal. But while there’s no evidence that Mossack Fonseca has done anything illegal, the reporting has suggested links between some offshore shell companies and organised crime and money laundering. The data, we’re told, reveals a vast underbelly of corruption associated with Panama – and other offshore banking destinations.

Measuring Corruption

By Paul M. Heywood & Jonathan Rose

The World Economic Forum estimates the cost of corruption to be more than 5% of global GDP (US $2.6 trillion), and the World Bank believes over $1 trillion is paid in bribes each year. Of course, given the secretive nature of corrupt exchanges, we cannot know the true value of how much is actually lost, but there can be little doubt that corruption represents a major cost to the public. Given such staggering numbers, it is understandable that both academics and policymakers would want to develop measures of corruption. These measures aim to show how much corruption exists in the world and where it occurs, and ultimately provide guidance about how to stop it. Unfortunately, currently available measures of corruption are beset by conceptual, methodological, or political problems (or a combination of all three) that constrain their utility as a guide to developing effective anti-corruption policies.

Are Political Finance Regulations Helping to Combat Party Corruption in Europe and Latin America?

By Fernando Casal Bértoa

As has been repeatedly stated, money is the main fuel of politics. Without it political parties cannot function, elections cannot take place, and democracy – at least as we know it – cannot exist. It is for this reason, but not the only one, that most political systems in the world guarantee (at least some) political parties access to state resources either to finance their electoral campaigns or to keep their political organizations running, or both.