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Piketty: Diagnosing inequality and prescribing a dose of anti-corruption

It’s the blockbuster policy book of the year: Thomas Piketty’s weighty Capital in the 21st Century, a 600 plus-page analysis of the scale and perils of rising inequality. As Piketty argues, wealth and return on capital are growing faster than the overall economy and income from labour. Making matters worse, labour income is becoming increasingly […]

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Investigating corruption: gagging the press is not a good idea

On 30 July it emerged that the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia had issued a suppression order to stop the media from reporting key details of a scandal that involved foreign bribery in the printing of Australian bank notes, allegedly implicating people from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. The court order is apparently in the […]

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From CEO to whistleblower

Shortly after being appointed CEO of the Japan-based company Olympus, Michael Woodford discovered a massive case of fraud within the company. When he tried to raise the alarm internally, calling on board members to explain the exorbitant fees – amounting to hundreds of millions of US dollars – paid to obscure companies, some of them […]

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Shelving the shells

From one corruption fighting organisation to another, hats off to Global Witness. Founder Charmian Gooch and her colleagues have been recognised for their stellar efforts to highlight the damage done by corrupt practices in the extractives sector. In her award winning TED talk, Gooch highlighted the role of ‘the facilitators’ – global banks and global […]

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New year’s resolution: learn the language of bankers

If you have not yet made it to the gym, fear not. Exchange that new year’s resolution for another: learn a new language. But make sure you learn one which has a more practical purpose than ordering a drink or finding one’s way to the swimming pool. It’s time to learn the lingo of bankers […]

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Whistleblowers: regulators of last resort

Over the past half-century, national governments have developed complex regulatory structures to oversee public health, banking, utilities, food safety, communications, transportation and other industries. By the 1980s, however, the United States and United Kingdom began pushing the policy pendulum in the other direction – deregulating industries sector by sector. Through international organisations, governments around the […]

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It’s the Oversight, Stupid

The arrest in China of four GlaxoSmithKline executives on charges of bribery highlights an important reality that companies ignore at their peril. As we have seen in other areas, most notably in financial crime or money laundering, the ways and means of committing a criminal act can and do evolve. A trench-coated operative wearing dark […]

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Announcing the Financial Transparency Coalition

The Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development has changed its name to the Financial Transparency Coalition. Porter McConnell, its new manager, explains why. When the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development was created in 2009, only a handful of experts were following the issue of illicit financial flows. The subject was […]

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How to set up an offshore company in 10 minutes

Last week the massive “Offshore Leaks” investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reported the uncovering of the beneficial owners of thousands of offshore companies. Among the owners of offshore shell companies disclosed so far are several senior politicians and their close families in various countries. Just how difficult and costly is it to […]

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