The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into allegations that a number of major UK-based firms paid bribes to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. The firms being targeted include the drug giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly. The international oil traders and UK bridge-builders Mabey and Johnson are also to be investigated.
They are on a long list of international companies accused in a UN report of paying kickbacks under the discredited oil-for-food sanctions regime, which enabled Saddam to illicitly amass an estimated $1.8bn. Ministers have agreed to fund the investigation with £22m over three years.
To understand the nature of the Abramoff scandal that rocked Washington in 2006, it is especially helpful to look at the email files that US Senate Indian Affairs Committee have put on the Internet. These emails reveal a sordid, day-by-day account in Abramoff’s own words documenting how he maneuvered government officials and others in Washington to transfer millions of dollars in fraudulent fees from his clients into the coffers of the political establishment in Washington.
Beck et al. 2001Beck, Nathaniel; Epstein, David; Jackman, Simon; O’Halloran, Sharyn (2001): Alternative Models of Dynamics in Binary Time-Series-Cross-Section Models: The example of state failure. Paper presented at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the Society for Political Methodology, Emory University, 18-22 July 2001.
Hesselbein; Golloba-Mutebi; Putzel 2006Hesselbein, Gabi; Golooba-Mutebi, Frederick; Putzel, James (2006): Economic and Political Foundations of State-Making in Africa: Understanding state reconstruction. London: Crisis States Working Paper No. 3, Series No. 2.
Korteweg; Ehrhardt 2006Korteweg, Rem; Ehrhardt, David (2006): Terrorist Black Holes: A study into terrorist sanctuaries and governmental weakness. Den Haag: Clingendael Centre for Strategic Studies
World Bank Independent Evaluation Group 2006World Bank Independent Evaluation Group (2006): Engaging with Fragile States: An IEG review of World Bank support to low-income countries under stress. Washington D.C.: The World Bank Group.
The “Mr Bigs” of organised crime in Queensland were thriving untouched because law enforcement agencies could not tap phones, a federal parliamentary committee has been told. Criminal investigators were virtually powerless to stop flourishing criminal networks and were forced to rely on interstate policing bodies for phone surveillance, the committee heard.
Queensland is the only state in Australia where crime fighting authorities do not have telephone interception or phone tapping powers, despite more than a decade of lobbying from police and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
This study focuses on the structure and evolution of a drug importation network that operated from Montreal, Canada, and that was the target of an extensive 2-year criminal investigation. The investigation was atypical in that it followed a seize-but-do-not-arrest strategy – while 11 drug shipments were seized by police throughout this period, arrests were never made until the final phase of the investigation. Such a case offers a rare opportunity to study the dynamics of a criminal network under intense surveillance and disruption. The reconstruction of the importation network is based on electronic communication transcripts that were intercepted and compiled during the investigation. Findings from analyses of the principal changes that took place within the communication network reveal how network centralization and critical node status are variable, and not static, properties of a criminal network under considerable constraint. The study demonstrates how a criminal network decentralizes and is re-ordered in response to intense law-enforcement targeting. Contributions are made to research on disruption in criminal networks. We conclude with a discussion on how a criminal network’s flexibility, a feature generally presented as a sign of resilience, may contribute to a more significant demise within a context of intensive control.
Keywords: criminal network; social network analysis; drug trafficking; law-enforcement; critical node
Carlo Morselli and Katia Petit (2007) Global Crime 8(2): 109-130.
A British company has been closed down after being caught in an apparent attempt to sell black-market weapons-grade uranium to Iran and Sudan, The Observer can reveal.[..]During the 20-month investigation, which also involved MI5 and Customs and Excise, a group of Britons was tracked as they obtained weapons-grade uranium from the black market in Russia. Investigators believe it was intended for export to Sudan and on to Iran.[..] British agents believe Russian black-market uranium was destined for Sudan, described as a ‘trans-shipment’ point. The alleged plot, however, was disrupted in early 2006, before the nuclear material reached its final destination. [..] Alleged evidence of Sudan’s role will concern British security services. The East African state has long been suspected of offering a haven for Islamist terrorists and has been accused of harbouring figures including Osama bin Laden who, during the mid-Nineties, set up a number of al-Qaeda training camps in the country.
A former magistrate went on trial on Monday in Beijing for allegedly organizing beatings and extortion for illegal gains.
Fang Guangcheng, 44, former deputy magistrate of Liyuan Town in Tongzhou District of Beijing, and 36 members of the gang allegedly led by Fang, were accused of beating complaining villagers and forcing an owner of a property worth 10 million yuan (1.29 million U.S. dollars) to sell it to Fang for just 2.83 million yuan, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court heard.
Fang was jailed for five years in 1983 for assault, but a few years after his release, he was appointed secretary of Lilaogong village branch of the Communist Party of China and promoted to deputy magistrate of Liyuan Town in 2001.
Fang was arrested in December 2005 with other alleged gang members. Police froze 222 banking accounts totaling 14.29 million yuan and more than 20,000 U.S. dollars.
The trial continues.
Source: Xinhua 29 May 2007