Task Force Blog

Posts by Rachel Brown

About the Author:

Rachel Brown is a contributor to the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development blog, who has spent much time researching corruption in Kenya and Guatemala. She holds a degree in International Relations from Tufts University.

Mars Group Applauds U.S. for Pressuring Kenya to Clean-Up

October 5, 2009

A statement released by Mars Group Kenya, a Kenyan anti-corruption organization, this past week clearly shows an awareness and distaste for the role played by international financial organizations in financing corrupt regimes, as well as an appreciation for recent U.S. action to pressure Kenyan politicians to push for government reform. Pressure from the U.S. came last week in the form of 15 letters from the U.S. government to top Kenyan officials, “warning them of possible travel bans if they did not cooperate in instituting reforms.” While many government officials have come out decisively against the actions of the U.S., the Mars Group statement asserts that:

The Kibaki administration is ruffled by the United States Government latest actions on Kenya and it has nothing to do with travel bans. Money is at stake and the soft underbelly of the regime is exposed. Although it touts itself as financially self-reliant, in truth the Grant Coalition Government of Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga cannot afford to ignore the International Community and especially the United States’ stated intention of scrutinizing all loans and financial programmes for Kenya by the International Financial Institutions.

The statement continues, moving on to state that the actions of the U.S. to pressure reform within the government not only have the power to influence Kenyan politicians, but that they are also supported by the Kenyan public:

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Misha Glenny investigates global crime networks

September 28, 2009

In this fascinating TED talk, Misha Glenny, author of McMafia, details the increased prevalence of organized crime since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Importantly, about ten and half minutes in, he focuses specifically on the deregulated global financial system, pointing to offshore banking as one of the biggest enablers of organized crime. He calls for new, effective, regulation – something he considers a necessity, and believes that it should come from the White House, pinning considerable hope on President Obama.

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Thursday’s Top Stories

August 27, 2009

Check out some of today’s top stories below:

New Jersey Corruption Bust Had Deep Roots
Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009

LA trial in Thai film festival bribery case begins
Associated Press, August 26, 2009

Corrupt firms ‘face phone taps’
BBC, August 27, 2009

Swiss Negotiator for UBS Says IRS May Seek More Data (Update1)
Bloomberg, August 27, 2009

U.K.-Liechtenstein Tax Deal Opens Up Lucrative Loophole
Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009

24 arrested in huge bank debt scandal in Nigeria
AFP, August 26, 2009

A convenient hypocrisy on tax havens
European Voice, August 27, 2009

Pacific tax havens at risk: report
Radio Australia News, August 27, 2009

Supporters of Malawi Ex-President Hail Court Ruling
Voice of America, August 27, 2009

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Wednesday’s Top Stories

August 26, 2009

Read today’s top stories below:

GFI In the News

UBS and the Taxpayers’ Lost Billions
ProPublica, August 25, 2009

Top Stories:

Corruption hurting economic growth: Indian PM
AFP, August 26, 2009

Zambia sacks anti-corruption head
BBC, August 26, 2009

Anti-corruption team sent to Turks
Financial Times, August 26, 2009

Swiss Wegelin Tells Clients To Exit US Secs Amid Tax Scrutiny
Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2009

UBS Whistleblower Gets Rewarded With Prison Time
Bloomberg, August 26, 2009

FOCUS: VP Bank CEO’s Exit Puts Liechtenstein In Spotlight
Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2009

Black money: India-Switzerland talks in December
The Economic Times, August 25, 2009

Tannenbaum-Linked Charitable Donations May Have to Be Returned
Bloomberg, August 26, 2009

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Tuesday’s Top Stories

August 25, 2009

Check out some of today’s top stories below:

GFI in the News

Only rich benefit from secret Swiss banks
Toronto Star, August 25, 2009

Top Stories

News Analysis: How the U.S. Is a Tax Haven for Mexico’s Wealthy
Tax Analysts, August 24, 2009

IRS Could Target Off-Shore Hedge-Fund Investors Next
Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2009

Canada Revenue Agency Schedules Meeting With UBS Officials
Tax Analysts, August 24, 2009

The Ex-Wives Club of UBS Tax-Evaders
Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2009

U.S. fails to follow all of the money
Miami Herald, August 25, 2009

India will take up specific cases with Swiss banks: Pranab
The Hindu, August 25, 2009

UPDATE 1 –Liechtenstein VP Bank CEO to go; outflows continue
Reuters, August 25, 2009

High-Profile Conviction Should Bolster Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement
International Law Office, August 24, 2009

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Monday’s Top Stories

August 24, 2009

Take a look at some of today’s top stories below:

GFI in the News:

IRS makes good on threat to go after tax havens
Inside Tucson Business, August 21, 2009

Top Stories

The British connection to Pinochet’s lost millions
Belfast Telegraph

Liechtenstein’s Prince Alois Pledges Tax Rule Revamp (Update1)
Bloomberg, August 24, 2009

Taking aim at tax havens
Las Vegas Sun, August 24, 2009

Financial storm swirls around San Marino
Times Online, August 23, 2009

Swiss handover of US names ‘a timely reminder’
This is Guernsey, August 24, 2009

UBS chairman says clients “not harmless victims”: report
Reuters, August 23, 2009

Ex-UBS Banker’s Jail Time: 40 Months
Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2009

UBS Faces Gruebel Gloom Until 2011 as Withdrawals Curb Recovery
Bloomberg, August 24, 2009

Swiss bank shatters Indian dream of getting info on black money stashed abroad
Xinhua, August 24, 2009

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Canadian Tax Agency and UBS to Meet

August 21, 2009

Demonstrating the ripples that have been caused by the U.S.-UBS case, Bloomberg has printed an article that reports that UBS will meet with the Canadian tax agency in order “to determine how much Canadian money is held offshore by the Swiss bank.” The article provides further detail, that, “Lawyers for the Canada Revenue Agency will meet with the Swiss bank in September, the Globe said, citing Minister of National Revenue Jean-Pierre Blackburn.”

This will be an important conversation to keep an eye on and provides a welcome sign that the impact of the U.S.-UBS case will not be limited to the 4,450 names to be handed over.

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Swiss Prosecutor Probes Allegations of Govt Official Bribery

August 21, 2009

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Friday it has opened an investigation into allegations a high-ranking Swiss government official was bribed for confidential information by a client of UBS AG (UBS).

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Chile Government Official Calls On Senate To Pass Bank Secrecy Bill

August 21, 2009

Chile’s Undersecretary for Finance, Maria Olivia Recart, called on the Senate Thursday to pass a pending bill that would allow the national tax service to access Chileans’ bank-account information and share it with other countries’ tax authorities.

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Friday’s Top Stories

August 21, 2009

Read some of Friday’s top stories below:

Swiss Prosecutor Probes Allegations of Govt Official Bribery
Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2009

UBS to Meet Canadian Tax Agency to Discuss Accounts, Globe Says
Bloomberg, August 21, 2009

Indictment in Tax Probe Shows Outsiders’ Alleged Use of UBS
Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2009

Ex-UBS banker faces sentencing in Florida
Associated Press, August 21, 2009

Swiss banking secrecy crackdown: Singapore next
Financial Post, August 21, 2009

Comment: The Swiss wealth model is still alive and well
Wealth Bulletin, August 21, 2009

Chile Government Official Calls On Senate To Pass Bank Secrecy Bill
NASDAQ, August 21, 2009

Wall Street ‘Corruption’ Might Buy Crook a Break
Bloomberg, August 21, 2009

Zambia’s corruption trial: Not guilty
Economist, August 20, 2009

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UBS deal cracks door on banking secrecy worldwide

August 20, 2009

Wednesday’s agreement by Swiss bank UBS to divulge details of 4,450 accounts to the US Internal Revenue Service has put a crowbar into the door of Switzerland’s long tradition of bank secrecy. But it’s just a small opening. The amount of global wealth stashed in tax-haven nations is staggering and largely uncontrolled, financial experts say. Here’s a brief backgrounder:

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Corruption cost Nigeria N250b in six years says EFCC

August 20, 2009

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said in Abuja on Wednesday that the nation has lost over ?250 billion to frauds perpetrated by former governors, senior government officials and other Nigerians since the commission was established in 2003.

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