Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tackling corruption?

David Cameron's anti-corruption summit - the one we sent the poorly-qualified Judith Collins to - is happening in London today, with representatives from over 40 countries sitting down to propose new measures to fight corruption. Good. While racists like David Cameron like to paint it as a developing world problem, the truth is that corruption is solicited and facilitated by wealthy, developed nations, with the UK first among them. To point out the obvious, those third-world kleptocrats would not be able to steal nearly as well if they didn't have an army of well-heeled London financial advisors to help them hide and launder their money. Which puts Cameron in a bind - because those facilitators of corruption are his base, his party's chief backers. And, thanks to Thatcher destroying everything else, the core of the UK economy.

Still, there's been some progress, with an alliance of countries joining forces to announce public registers of beneficial ownership, and many others agreeing to share such information (I'm less convinced of the new "failure to prevent" offence around money laundering, since it requires bankers to be prosecuted in order for bankers to be prosecuted, which is simply never going to happen). But its a long way short of the demands of civil society, which include asset recovery, debarring corrupt companies from future government contracts, and tackling professional enablers (by e.g. treating them as parties to the crime and prosecuting them as such).

And there's no word on whether New Zealand has signed up to any of this. Sadly, given John Key's performance in the House this week and the apparent willingness of multiple government Ministers to die in a ditch for the sake of foreign tax cheats and criminals, I'm not expecting much. To them, the summit is about giving Judith Collins a free trip to London to make some contacts for her husband, rather than putting her out of business.