A Trend of Increased Global Anti-Corruption Scrutiny

A Trend of Increased Global AntiCorruption Scrutiny


 You can download a full copy of the slides from this webinar. 




Full transcript available below:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, hosted by me, Joe Boyhan, of MCO, and international tax expert, Selva Ozelli. Today's webinar is titled Is This Bribe Tax Deductible? I'm now gonna pass you on to Selva, who's gonna start today's webinar.

I wanted to bring your attention to the fact that particularly due to leaks and whistle blowers, the unraveling of bank secrecy laws, and the new transparency regulations have came into effect for the first time in 2016 have brought a lot of transparency to international financial transactions of companies that were hidden from view before, and as a result of these transparency initiatives, there has been an increase in global anti corruption scrutiny, which is subjecting companies, high level government officials, corporate officials, third party agents, banks, lawyers, accountants, to a blizzard of simultaneous or sequential multijurisdictional corruption investigations. I want you to know that these corruption investigations may also shed light on a company's tax evasion, which could happen if the company that is financing improper payment is excluded from income, or the bribery payment is deducted for tax purposes.

Usually shell companies, offshore bank accounts located in tax havens are used as tools to hide corruption and tax evasion. [inaudible 00:02:47] 20% of gross domestic product, or around 9.5 trillion of tax payer's money is spent on public procurement projects each year and that between 20 and 25%, or about 2 trillion each year is lost to corruption. Some examples of these corruption investigations are provided in pages four to 10 of your PowerPoint presentation. Let's now turn to page five of your presentation, which mentions the Brazilian Operation Car Wash investigation, which is the largest bribery case ever investigated.

For the past three years, several investigators in Brazil uncovered corruption and tax evasion at the highest levels of government and in the country's largest corporations. The Operation Car Wash investigation began as a Brazilian investigation into a $2 billion kick box scheme involving certain employees of PetroBras is Brazil's semi state-owned oil company. The investigation expanded into national route, with reports of authorities from US, and more than a dozen other countries, investigating companies and individuals, connected to bribery.

Operation Car Wash, in addition to PetroBras, including Odebrecht, which is a Brazilian conglomerate. It has diversified businesses in the fields of engineering and construction. This company was fined by the Department of Justice for 2.6 billion for bribery violations. The Department of Justice found that bribing government officials around the world by Odebrecht was so common that the company actually established an internal division called Division of Structured Operations. In this division, workers facilitated bribery payments to government officials to offshore entities, via wire transfers to their offshore bank accounts.

When wire transfers were inconvenient, workers in this division organized deliveries of cash filled suit cases to secret locations. The bribery scheme lasted more than two decades, and involved bribes to government officials in a dozen countries across three continents.

So far, Brazil's former president, Dilma Rousseff was impeached last fall. Recently, a federal judge in Brazil convicted country's former president, Lula da Silva on charges of corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, and sentenced him to 9.5 years in prison, with the Brazil Cental Bank freezing four of Lula's bank accounts. Country's sitting president, Michel Temer, has been charged with corruption in connection with allegations that he accepted millions of dollars in bribes for Brazilian meat packing company, in exchange for resolving tax issues and facilitating loans from state-run banks on the company's behalf. So far, Temer has survived the corruption vote yesterday against him.

Peruvian ex-President Alejandro Toledo and his wife have been sentenced up to 18 months, while prosecutors pursue money laundering and other charges against them. Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, is accused of acception 1 million in campaign donations. Venezuela's ex-President Hugo Chavez took in millions of bribes from Brazilian strategist, much of it handed over in cash, by a man who now leads Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro, and a dozen of former and current top officials in Dominican Republic have been arrested for ties to 92 million in bribes from Brazil.

While Operation Car Wash might have been the largest corruption investigation up to date, every day, there's a new high-level corruption investigation breaking all around the world. For example, last week, on July 28th, the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, was removed from office by court order. This is not in your presentation material. It stems from Sharif failing to disclose his offshore assets, which were likely corruption proceeds, which was Sharif's second brush with the law for tax evasion.

In 1999, Sharif was ordered to pay a fine of $400 thousand and the US sentence to 14 years of imprisonment on ground that he drained off hundreds of millions state funds via unpaid bank rolls, and engaged in massive tax evasion. Sharif's recent tax evasion charges against him, and three of his children, two sons and a daughter, stem from disclosures last year in the Panama Papers leak. With the Panama Papers leak, 11 and a half million documents from a Panamanian law firm named Mossak Fonseca was made public. The data dump shows that the law firm helped some of the world's wealthiest people establish offshore entities and bank accounts, including the offshore accounts of 140 politicians and public officials, a dozen of which are current and former world leaders.

Those documents reveal that Sharif's children owned expensive residential property in London through a string of offshore companies that they could not afford, based on Sharif's income. The justice is drawing on a constitutional article that allows to disqualify a member of Parliament, who's found to be dishonest, found Sharif guilty of concealing his offshore assets, revealed through Panama Papers leak, and they ordered the opening of a criminal investigation into Sharif family once again.

But it's not just the briber receivers or the bribe payers that are getting into legal trouble lately. It's also the founding partners of Mossak Fonseca, the law firm involved in the Panama leak. They were arrested during the beginning of this year in Panama City for being a criminal organization that is dedicated to hiding money assets from suspicious origins, as well as aiding and abetting in tax evasion.

Find out how MCO can help

Request a demo today to learn how MyComplianceOffice puts you in command of your compliance program, synchronizing your business needs with regulation. 

Request a Demo



Download our four page Portfolio of Solutions to learn about;

  • Personal Trade Monitoring
  • Gifts & Entertainment
  • Political Contributions
  • Third Party vendor risk management
  • Trade surveillance
  • And more

Brochure Download