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An update from Latin America: Temer, Fifa, Mexico

by: (Editorial Manager) on

Temer

In Brazil president Michel Temer – struggling in his approval ratings – had the corruption case against him thrown out of court after a vote in the Brazilian Congress meant he would not have to face any charges. This is the second bribery and corruption case that Temer has survived.

Meanwhile, Odebrecht, the conglomerate at the centre of Operação Lavo Jato – the investigation into corruption between big business and politicians in Brazil – was twice in the headlines again this week.  

White -globe -on -a -deskFirst the company was found to have meddled in Peruvian politics, after former CEO Marcelo Odebrecht (serving a 19-year jail sentence for bribery) admitted giving politician Keiko Fujimori half a million dollars (something Fujimori denies – last summer’s Panama Papers revealed that Fujimori was involved with the law firm Mossack Fonseca).

In other news, it was revealed through the leak of the Paradise Papers that Appleby, the firm from which the bulk of the papers were leaked, had run 17 offshore companies for Odebrecht, at least one of which was used to process bribery payments.

The unending fallout from Odebrecht’s incredible web of bribery payments continues unabated two years after the bribery revelations surfaced.

Fifa

Guatemalan judge Héctor Trujillo found himself on the wrong side of the courtroom when he was handed an eight-month prison sentence following his guilty plea on wire fraud and conspiracy charges in October. Trujillo was found guilty of accepting payments to steer marketing contracts towards his federation.

Trujillo was the first individual sentenced as part of the US-led investigation into corruption at Fifa. The case took place in New York as Trujillo had used the US banking system to process the bribery payments.

This month Costas Takkas become the second person from Fifa to receive a custodial sentence. He received a 15-month prison sentence on corruption charges. Takkas, the former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, was part of the first wave of arrests of Fifa officials in May 2015 in Zurich.

Over the coming months more former Fifa officials will face trial in the US, particularly from South American football federations: the former heads of Peru, Brazil and Paraguay’s football federations are all due to stand trial. So far 40 individuals have been implicated in the case.

Mexico

Mexico is still struggling to tackle money laundering, according to not yet published FATF mutual evaluation report on the country. The leaked report estimates that $58 billion of criminal proceeds is generated annually, all of which is potentially laundered – this is in addition to the amount of money laundering suspects who are high-risk having tripled, according to the country’s FIU.

The report does acknowledge that improvements have occurred since the last mutual evaluation on Mexico in 2008 but state that there is plenty of room for improvement. It is understood that the mutual evaluation is yet to be handed to FATF for publication.

The news comes on top of another report by the Mexican audit office that suggested that the money laundering fight was not as robust as it might be, highlighting the scarcity of criminal convictions. Just 5% of cases that begun in 2016 were completed within the calendar year. 

 

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