IN TIMES LIKE THESE, TRANSPARENCY MATTERS MORE THAN EVER

With the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect more and more countries, yesterday our thirteen national chapters across Latin America published guidance that will help governments in the region stop critical emergency funds being lost to corruption.

Also this week, our office in the United States asked the Congress to include key anti-corruption safeguards in its Coronavirus stimulus package. Proposed reforms will, among other things, ensure that government contracts go toward fighting the virus and are not misappropriated by corrupt actors at home or abroad.

With additional resources being allocated to fight the pandemic, we need to ensure that funds that should alleviate the crisis and support communities don’t end up being stolen and stashed offshore. That is precisely why this week we have also been calling for anti-money laundering supervision of banks to be more robust, effectively enforced and consistent.

Additional evidence has come to light, describing how Sweden’s biggest bank, Swedbank may have facilitated the laundering of funds from Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine.

An independent report found that Swedbank and its Baltic branches actively sought clients with a high-risk profile and reportedly processed at least US$40 billion in high-risk transactions between 2014 and 2019, ignoring anti-money laundering obligations.

Together with our national chapters in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, we have proposed ways to address these extraordinary failings in the governance and supervision of the banking sector, so that these mistakes do not repeat themselves in the critical months to come.

Do you have information on corruption or wrongdoing related to the Coronavirus pandemic? You can send tips to the investigative journalists at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

If you’ve been asked for a bribe in accessing public services, you can also approach one of our advocacy and legal advice centres.

What do you think? Let us know @anticorruption.