Pope Orders Cardinals to Investigate Vatican Leaks

Money Laundering
Pope Orders Cardinals to Investigate Vatican Leaks
The Associated Press, April 25, 2012

Pope Benedict has set up a commission of cardinals to investigate the leaks of sensitive documents to the media alleging corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican.

The documents included private letters to the pope from an archbishop who was transferred to Washington after he blew the whistle on what he said was nepotism and cronyism in the awarding of contracts, and documents alleging internal conflicts about the Vatican bank.

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FATF
FATF: Treasury Dept. Weighs In On Tax Evasion And Beneficial Ownership
The Wall Street Journal (blog), April 25, 2012
By C.M. Matthews

We sat down last week for a conversation about the Financial Action Task Force with two of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s point men on the group: Daniel Glaser, assistant secretary for terrorist financing, and Chip Poncy, director of the office of strategic policy for terrorist financing and financial crimes. Glaser is the former head of the U.S. delegation to the FATF, and Poncy is the current head of the delegation.

This is the second portion of the interview, focused on FATF’s February update to its recommendations, the first in eight years. Stay tuned for the final portion Thursday. The interview has been edited for clarity.

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Wal-Mart Scandal
Wal-Mart took part in lobbying campaign to amend anti-bribery law
The Washington Post, April 24, 2012
By Tom Hamburger, Brady Dennis and Jia Lynn Yang

Wal-Mart, the giant retailer now under fire over allegations of foreign bribery in Mexico, has participated in an aggressive and high-priced lobbying campaign to amend the long-standing U.S. anti-bribery law that the company might have violated.

The push to revisit how federal authorities enforce the statute has been centered at a little-known but well-funded arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where a top executive of Wal-Mart has sat on the board of directors for nearly a decade.

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House Democrats expand Wal-Mart probe to include trade groups
The Hill, April 25, 2012
By Kevin Bogardus

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) are expanding their probe of Wal-Mart’s business practices abroad to two prominent Washington trade groups.

In separate letters sent Wednesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the two lawmakers ask for documents and the names of staff members who have worked on the lobbying campaign centered on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The law bans bribery of foreign government officials.

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Wal-Mart reveals lawyers, accountants on FCPA issues
Reuters, April 25, 2012
By Jessica Wohl

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday that it named a former attorney earlier this year to oversee global compliance with a bribery law, as it deals with the fallout over alleged bribes in Mexico that recently came to light.

The world’s largest retailer also outlined the high-profile lawyers, law firms and accountants helping with its ongoing investigation into the matter and its worldwide review of compliance.

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Tax Havens
Indian tax system, black money and tax havens
The Economic Times (India), April 24, 2012
By P.R. Srinivasan

Drug smugglers and third-world dictators laundering ill-gotten wealth through secretive banking systems in tax havens is an anachronistic image from crime novels. Leveraging US’ remarkable success in compelling tax havens to block terrorist financing, the G20/OECD have successfully persuaded tax havens to improve tax transparency and participate in an international regime of information exchange.

All tax havens have committed to OECD standards for tax transparency and are executing Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) wherever needed. Stringent know-your-customer (KYC) regulations and TIEAs are making it difficult, albeit slowly, for round-tripping black money through tax havens. However, tax havens continueto suffer an ‘image problem’ due to a Swiss tradition that has gone with the wind, i.e., not accepting tax evasion as grounds to lift the veil of banking secrecy.

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Slovak businessmen leave for tax havens
The Slovak Spectator, April 25, 2012

The number of Slovak businesspeople heading for tax havens is increasing. According to data presented by the Czech Capital Information Agency (?EKIA), up to 3,072 companies in Slovakia, i.e. 1.6 percent of the total number of businesses operating in the country, are located in places considered to be tax havens. Most of these companies are resident in the Seychelles, the US and in Cyprus, the SITA newswire reported.

?EKIA said that companies choose the Seychelles and the US because of the opportunity for anonymous ownership, while Cyprus offers lower taxation.

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Swiss Banking Secrecy
Swiss braced for fresh attack on banking secrecy
Swiss Info, April 25, 2012
By Peter Siegenthaler

Swiss banking secrecy faces renewed attack from members of the Council of Europe on Friday when they vote on a resolution demanding a clamp-down on tax havens.

The parliamentary assembly of the 47-member Council is to discuss a resolution prepared by one of its committees which wants to see the tax burden more fairly shared, and a change to judicial systems which allow banking secrecy to facilitate tax evasion.

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Bribery
FCPA Goes To Hollywood Over China Dealings
The Wall Street Journal (blog), April 25, 2012
By Samuel Rubenfeld

U.S. foreign bribery law has gone to the big screen — and it isn’t hitting a theater near you.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has written to several Hollywood studios asking about their dealings with China, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

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European Lawmakers Detail Payments To FIFA Officials
The Wall Street Journal (blog), April 25, 2012
By Samuel Rubenfeld

Two top officials at international soccer’s governing body received millions of dollars in payments in the 1990s from its now-defunct marketing partner, according to testimony in a Council of Europe report.

The more-than 14.2 million Swiss francs ($15.5 million) in payments from ISL, received by two unnamed executives at Fédération Internationale de Football Association, were disclosed Monday in a report to a sports panel in the Council of Europe. The report slammed FIFA President Sepp Blatter over his handling of the scandal surrounding the payments, questioning his claim of not knowing about them.

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