This week we saw a huge and welcome step in the UK’s battle to stop dirty money being washed on its shores. In the first British case based on an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) – a court order compelling individuals to reveal the source of their wealth – the wife of a jailed Azerbaijani state banker lost her appeal. UK authorities seized her London luxury home after she had spent £16m at a department store and failed to reveal a legitimate origin of that money.
We estimate that UWOs could be applied to a minimum of 500 UK properties belonging to more than 150 individuals, with the funds recovered responsibly returned to their rightful owners.
Journalist, not hacker
Meanwhile in Brazil, a judge has dismissed charges against investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald. He had been accused of “cyber crimes” after publishing a series of articles that raised questions about the independence of Brazil’s biggest corruption investigation, Operation Lava Jato (Carwash). The exposé, based on hacked phone messages, focussed on potential collusion between then-judge Sergio Moro and state prosecutors.
Global cooperation for global accountability
Global fallout following Airbus’ record-breaking bribery settlement continues, with executives stepping down and new investigations being launched. These new probes should aim to fill the gaps left open by the agreement reached with authorities in France, the UK and US. Going after the company alone is not enough – individuals paying and giving bribes must face consequences, too. Global cooperation is indispensable for holding people on both ends of the bribe to account, and to make sure that big companies can’t simply buy their way out of trouble.
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