Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category

Tennis players throw their matches when “they can’t play their best”

January 25, 2016

As new details emerge about strange betting patterns around a mixed doubles match in the ongoing  Australian Open, an Australian professional tennis player, Nick Lindahl (of Swedish birth) pleads guilty to corrupt betting and admits in court that he threw a match for gains to be made by betting for his opponent to win.

But some of what he revealed perhaps throws light on when top players throw matches – either directly for payment or for indirect gains from bets placed against their opponents.

First the report on the current match in the Australian Open. The statements attributed to David Marrero are more than a little weird and he has apparently been involved before with “suspicious matches”.

Yahoo SportsHow bold would a player have to be to fix a match in the middle of a match-fixing scandal? That’s the question buzzing around the Australian Open on Monday, where a suspicious mixed doubles match has reignited the match-fixing controversy that has surrounded the tournament since a joint Buzzfeed/BBC report was released last Sunday

The suspicion started when betting site Pinnacle Sports suspended betting on the match featuring Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero against Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot. Large amounts of money were being placed on Kubot and Klavackova in what would normally be an obscure match, the head of the site told the New York Times

“We saw a small number of people placing a large amount of money,” he said. “In context, these matches are rather small. That means that any aggressive betting behavior is very easy to detect on our side.”

This is the first Australian Open match that Pinnacle Sports has flagged this year. Hlavackoba and Kubot won in rapid fashion, closing out the match at 6-0, 6-3. 

Arruabarrena and Marrero are each ranked No. 33 and No. 32 among doubles players on the women’s and men’s tours, respectively. Marrero was part of the team that won the 2013 ATP World Tour championship. They denied any match-fixing, saying that the reason for their unexpected loss was that Marrero has a knee injury. Then Marrero, who has played nearly 30 mixed doubles matches, gave a more bizarre answer.

“Normally, when I play, I play full power, in doubles or singles,” he said. “But when I see the lady in front of me, I feel my hand wants to play, but my head says, ‘Be careful.’ This is not a good combination.”

Arruabarrena questioned if a spectator had noticed the injury during their Saturday practice session and subsequently tipped someone off. The Times noted that this is not the first time a Marrero doubles match has raised suspicions

In the meantime, the SMH reports on Nick Lindahl’s shenanigans:

A former Australian professional tennis player has pleaded guilty in a Sydney court to a corrupt betting charge in a scheme to fix a match in Queensland. But Nick Lukas Lindahl will fight the allegation he tried to hide evidence related to match fixing.   

Lindahl, 27, was arrested by the NSW Organised Crime Squad at Liberty Grove, in Sydney’s inner west, in February last year.

His court appearance comes just days after allegations of widespread match fixing rocked the international tennis world on the eve of the Australian Open. …….

During this conversation, Lindahl was heard encouraging Mr Fox to get rid of computer data and a mobile phone app, police allege.

“Just get rid of everything … hide it,” he said.

He also spoke about how he had previously told police he had thrown matches “because that’s what tennis players do when they can’t play their best”.

Mr Fox and Mr Wolfenden have already had their matters heard before court.

Lindahl has pleaded guilty to using corrupt conduct /information to bet on an event but pleaded not guilty to concealing conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of events.

It makes a kind of sense. Players expected to win but who are either feeling out of sorts or don’t expect to progress sufficiently far to win any real prize money, have much money to win by losing unexpectedly. That of course will be one of the key criteria for a “suspicious” match. And from now on, I shall be automatically suspicious of any unexpected loss early on in a tournament.


Related: Why did Tennis Australia board members quit on eve of Australian Open?


 

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As expected, Blatter follows Valcke and cancels Canada trip for fear of arrest

July 1, 2015

On June 2nd the FIFA General Secretary, Jerome Valcke, cancelled his trip to Canada for the opening of the Women’s World Cup and I observed then,

The FIFA General Secretary, Jerome Valcke, was due to travel to Canada to participate in the opening of the Women’s World Cup on June 6th. But yesterday there were reports that he had been named in one of the FBI’s indictments as the “high ranking FIFA official who had transferred monies to Jack Warner. He was not named as a defendant, but nevertheless he cancelled his trip to Canada “because he had important work to do in Zurich”. …..

Sepp Blatter has just resigned from the FIFA presidency. …….  If it turns out that he does not go to Canada for the final of the Women’s World Cup, then I would believe that he has resigned now because the FBI has found some evidence tying him to the shady deals. The reports tonight are that the FBI may well have provided the final straw.

And the news today is that Sepp Blatter has cancelled his trip to Canada to attend the final of the Women’s World Cup for “personal reasons”.

BBCFifa president Sepp Blatter will not travel to Canada for the final of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday for “personal reasons”. The 79-year-old Swiss had planned to attend the match in Vancouver, despite Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke pulling out of the opening ceremony.

……. Blatter’s lawyer, Richard Cullen, said Fifa senior vice-president Issa Hayatou would attend the match instead.

Well, I suppose the risk of being arrested is about as “personal” as it is possible to be.

Australia covers up corruption in getting plastic currency contracts

July 30, 2014

The supply of, and the technology for producing, plastic currency are a big business for the Reserve Bank of Australia. Plastic currency is now used by 23 countries around the world. But it is also apparent that Australian parties have been involved in bribing high officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam (at least) in securing contracts for plastic currency. The Australian courts are apparently cooperating in some form of cover-up.

That has become apparent from the Wikileaks release of a gagging order by the Supreme Court of Victoria at Melbourne where the court forbids

any discloures, by publication or otherwise, of any information relating to the court case by anyone, including the Australian media, ensuring complete secrecy around the largest corruption case in Australia. The order also forbids any disclosures about the order itself, and specifically commands no mention be made of the affirmed affidavit submitted to the court by Gillian Bird, a career diplomat, currently appointed as a deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Bird is one of Australia’s most senior and experienced diplomats and is responsible for relations with South East Asia which is why her affidavit, currently held sealed by the court, is so important.

Not only a gagging order but also a gag on revealing the gag!

For such a blanket gagging order to have been issued suggests that some “big” names – both at home and abroad but probably mainly abroad – are running a little scared of embarrassment or something worse.

My “rule of thumb” is that in corruption cases of this sort about 3 – 4% of the contract value will find its way into the hands of individuals (officials/politicians) in the buying country and that from this amount about ½- 1% of the contract value will be channeled back to individuals in the selling organisation. The 3% is an important number since it is what is unofficially accepted as being acceptable as legitimate facilitation costs for selling by OECD rules. If bribes can be held to less than about 3% (including the kick-back to the kick-back), the contract can usually escape too much scrutiny.

Plastic currency is one of the few areas where Australian technology leads the world. As such it provides a very valuable source of revenue (and prestige) for the RBA.

Currently seven Australians have been charged in an ongoing $17 million corruption case:

SMH: A seventh Australian man has been charged over an alleged $17 million banknotes bribery scandal engulfing companies related to Australia’s central bank.

Clifford John Gerathy, 60, of Maroubra, in south-eastern Sydney, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court in Melbourne on Wednesday.

A former Securency sales manager, Gerathy faces two charges of conspiring to bribe a foreign official and falsifying documents in connection to the scandal involving currency contracts.

Before Gerathy appeared in court, the Australian Federal Police said it would be alleged he facilitated payments of $17.2 million in commissions to an agent in Vietnam and falsified accounts in relation to a contract in Malaysia.  …… 

Gerathy will next appear in court on September 23 with his co-accused, all six of whom are from Victoria. The others charged with bribes allegedly paid to secure banknote contracts are Myles Curtis, 55, John Leckenby, 66, Mitchell John Anderson, 50, Peter Sinclair Hutchinson, 61, Barry Thomas Brady, 62, and Rognvald Leslie Marchant, 64.

They all seem to have been represented for the gagging order hearing in front of the Hounarable Justice Hollingworth.

Australia gagging order attendants

Australia gagging order attendants

Australia was the first country to use plastic currency using technology developed jointly by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). In 1996, RBA and Belgian multinational Union Chimique Belge (UCB) formed a joint venture, Securency Pty Ltd, to service demand for the polymer technology.

CSIRO: ……. polymer and synthetic chemistry was used to develop a non-fibrous and non-porous plastic film, which the banknotes are printed on. This substrate gives high tear initiation resistance, good fold characteristics and a longer lifetime than paper.

The substrate and the specially-developed protective overcoat prevent the absorption of moisture, sweat and grime so that the polymer banknotes stay cleaner.

CSIRO has also developed a variety of overt and covert security features for use on polymer banknotes. These security features are produced from a combination of spectroscopic techniques, synthetic chemistry, nanotechnology, surface science microstructure manipulation and polymer chemistry. …

….. Currently there are over thirty different denominations totalling some 3 billion polymer notes in service in 22 countries worldwide. 

In addition, a press-ready polymer substrate (Guardian™) is available for countries with their own note printing facilities.

Guardian™ is produced by Securency Pty Ltd, a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Australia and Innovia Films PLC, a European-based manufacturer of polypropylene films.

Innovia Security

The first Guardian® banknote was issued as a commemorative $10 note in 1988, the year of Australia’s bicentenary, containing both the first transparent window and first hologram of any type, making it the most secure banknote of its time. After being successfully received by the public, the RBA introduced a $5 note for general circulation in 1992 followed by successive notes in the years following. Throughout the 1990s, Guardian® banknote substrate steadily grew in popularity throughout the world, with the innovative polymer-based technology gaining the trust and confidence of more than 30 Central Banks to either adopt Guardian® for use in mainstream denominations or as a commemorative note as a test and forerunner to future use.

In 1996, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Innovia Films entered into a joint venture to create Securency International, an arrangement that was concluded in February 2013 when Innovia acquired the RBA’s 50% share in the business. The RBA proved an outstanding partner in helping Securency establish itself in the global banknote industry during a period in which some of the world’s most successful companies including 3M and Mobil also attempted to enter the banknote substrate market but were unable to do so.

 

It is time to take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar

June 1, 2014

If FIFA is to retain any semblance of credibility they need to re-run the selection process for the 2022 World Cup. This time without Qatar participating.  That won’t stop the corruption of course but at least it could clean out the stable before it is despoiled again.

The latest revelations in the Sunday Times (paywalled but reported by the BBC) merely confirm that Qatar did buy selection.

BBC:

Fifa is facing fresh allegations of corruption over its controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The Sunday Times  has obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling $5m to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.

…….. the Sunday Times alleges Bin Hammam’s strategy was to win a groundswell of support for the Qatari bid which would then influence the four African Fifa executive committee members who were able to take part in the election.

The Sunday Times also alleges that it has documents which prove Bin Hammam paid 305,000 Euros (£250,000) to cover the legal expenses of another former Fifa executive committee member from Oceania, Reynald Temarii.

Temarii, from Tahiti, was unable to vote in the contest as he had already been suspended by Fifa after he was caught out by a Sunday Times sting asking bogus American bid officials for money in return for his support.

But the paper now alleges that Bin Hammam provided him with financial assistance to allow him to appeal against the Fifa suspension, delaying his removal from the executive committee and blocking his deputy David Chung from voting in the 2022 election.

The paper claims that had Chung been allowed to vote he would have supported Qatar’s rivals Australia. Instead there was no representative from Oceania allowed to vote, a decision which may have influenced the outcome in Qatar’s favour. The paper also makes fresh allegations about the relationship between Bin Hammam and his disgraced Fifa ally Jack Warner, from Trinidad. ….. 

That Qatar bought its selection was already known.

But what now becomes obvious is that many of the FIFA officials currently in power and including Sepp Blatter have known about this for some time. Some of them were probably involved themselves.

A Qatar World Cup will probably break all records in the number of deaths per goals scored. The competition will probably have to be shifted to the winter.

It is time for FIFA and Sepp Blatter to bite the bullet and take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar. Blatter will probably try to pin the blame for Qatar on Michel Platini.

It would be best if neither Platini or Blatter stood for the FIFA Presidency next year.

Just not cricket anymore!

May 22, 2014

It is quite possible that there are no longer any matches – especially in the Indian Premier League – which have not been fixed in some way. But the malaise is present even in English County Cricket.

1. ECB charge Lou Vincent and Naved Arif with match-fixing county cricket game

The England & Wales Cricket Board are anticipated to make history later these days by announcing they have charged Lou Vincent and his former Sussex group-mate Naved Arif with fixing the outcome of a county cricket match.

Telegraph Sport can reveal that former New Zealand batsman Vincent, who has currently confessed to fixing, and Arif, a Pakistani living in this nation, are becoming charged with additional than 15 counts of match-fixing.

If the players are found guilty they face lifetime bans from the sport, and the 40-more than match amongst Sussex and Kent played at Hove in August 2011 will be the initial verified case of the result of a county match becoming fixed.

Vincent, who has given proof to the International Cricket Council of fixing in five countries, faces a lot more than 10 charges of fixing some relate to the Sussex/Kent match and other individuals relate to an additional 1-day game he played for Sussex in 2011.

Arif faces at least 5 counts relating to the Sussex game versus Kent alone.

2. Chris Cairns named by NZ Test player’s ex-wife in match-fixing testimony

Former New Zealand Test player Chris Cairns continues to protest his innocence amid more evidence against him, this time from Lou Vincent’s ex-wife, who alleges he was a cricket match-fixing ringleader.

Cairns’ name was publicly linked with sworn evidence to International Cricket Council investigators for the first time on Tuesday, as the former New Zealand all-rounder issued a second statement in a 12-hour period. ‘‘I totally reject the allegations against me, and I will prove this.’’

The latest leaked evidence is a sworn 10-page document from Elly Riley, Vincent’s ex-wife, that she provided to anti-corruption investigators last October. It follows leaks in the past week of former Test opener Vincent’s explosive 42-page testimony, and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s signed three-page statement, both of which are understood to name Cairns as a fixing ringleader.

Riley’s evidence was that the fixing began at the Indian Cricket League in 2008, and that Vincent told her: ‘‘Chris was going to pay him $US$50,000 a game for the fixing.’’

The amount of money sloshing around in Indian Premier League and in the betting surrounding the matches makes spot fixing both tempting and extremely lucrative

3. IPL spot-fixing allegations

The IPL is no stranger to controversy, but on May 16 it met arguably its biggest crisis when Delhi Police arrested three Rajasthan Royals players – Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – soon after their match in Mumbai for spot-fixing. Eleven bookies were also arrested at that time, including one – Amit Singh – who was a former Royals player. Royals later suspended their players and the BCCI set up an inquiry, headed by its ACSU chief Ravi Sawani, into the allegations. The board also announced enhanced anti-corruption measures, including two more security personnel with each team. The arrests kicked off a nation-wide search and arrest of bookmakers – betting is illegal in India. One of those picked up in Mumbai was a small-time actor, Virender “Vindoo” Dara Singh, arrested on charges of links with bookmakers. His testimony led the police to arrest, on May 24, Meiyappan Gurunath, a top official of Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan. Delhi Police eventually chargesheeted the players, among 39 persons, under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, while the BCCI handed out life bans to Sreesanth and Chavan after Sawani’s probe found them guilty of fixing.

FIFA Presidential electioneering underway as Blatter blames Platini, France and Germany for selling 2022 World Cup to Qatar

May 17, 2014

FIFA Presidential electioneering for 2015 is underway as Sepp Blatter (who is Swiss) blames Michel Platini (who is French), France and Germany for selling the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. But this attack is just positioning by Blatter in case the 2014 World Cup in Brazil doesn’t go too well and Blatter will have to take that blame.

FIFA bows primarily to financial inducements (not political pressure as it sometimes appears). In many cases the financial inducements are just simple, straight-forward  bribery implemented in a very sophisticated manner. Even after the FIFA technical committee had clearly indicated that Qatar was unsuitable as a location for a World Cup tournament, the Executive Committee decided otherwise. That Qatar bought the 2022 World Cup is clear and it seems likely that the number of deaths per goal will be the highest ever by a long way in 2022.

Qatar 2022 will achieve more deaths than goals

Based on the track record of World Cup Tournaments, the Qatar 2022 championship will see between 100 and 180 goals – most likely around 150. But this number will be easily exceeded by the number of construction workers who have been killed by then. Already over 70 Nepalese workers have died since 2012 and the total number is probably around 200. By 2022 this number will exceed 1000.

Perhaps FIFA could introduce a safety performance index for the Qatar World Cup? Maybe to have less than 6 deaths per goal?

FIFA’s next presidential election is in 2015 and Sepp Blatter will be trying to retain his seat and Michel Platini will probably be opposing him. And so the electioneering has begun. This year’s World Cup is less than a month away and kicks-off on June 12th. The stadiums and infrastructure are still not quite ready. A fiasco in Brazil will be blamed on Sepp Blatter and will undermine his chances in 2015 of being President again. For some time now he has been trying to ensure that anything negative to do with Qatar is tied to Platini. Come 2015 Platini will have to deal with the Qatari dirt if he opposes Blatter.

A plague on both their houses!

November 2013Sepp Blatter Now Blames France and Germany for 2022 World Cup Fiasco

Always looking to blame somebody else, Sepp Blatter hasn’t let us down by now blaming France and Germany for the 2022 World Cup mess in Qatar. According to theFIFA fool, these two nations are to blame for the ongoing turmoil regarding Qatar hosting the 2022 event. In addition, he believes they’re also accountable for some of the ill treatment of the migrant workers over there, along with the construction firms. 

Blatter said on November 22 that France and Germany exerted a lot of political pressure to grant Qatar with the World Cup because of their financial interests and they’re the two biggest economies in Europe. In Blatter’s own words, there was a lot of “political pressure from European countries…because there were so many economic interests. Two of these countries pressured the voting men in FIFA: France and Germany…I think the heads of state of these two countries should also express what they think of this situation.” 

March 2014: Only I Can Beat Sepp Blatter In FIFA Elections – Platini

“Only one person can beat Blatter,” Platini said at UEFA congress in Astana (quotes from Reuters). 

Platini told the UEFA Congress he would have more meetings with European football leaders in coming months before announcing whether he would stand for FIFA.

“I will give my answer after the World Cup. There will be a series of meetings with European federation officials. Maybe 99% of them will say ‘we prefer that you stay at UEFA’, that could also be an element of reflection” in the decision, Platini said.

Meanwhile, the Frenchman earlier blasted the world federation’s lack of action over secretive companies owning players as he stepped up a war of nerves with Blatter. Platini said the so-called ‘third party ownership’ of players is a “danger” to football.

May 2014: Sepp Blatter: awarding 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a mistake

“Yes, it was a mistake of course, but one makes lots of mistakes in life,” said Blatter, Fifa’s president, in an interview with the Swiss broadcaster RTS. “The technical report into Qatar said clearly it was too hot but the executive committee – with a large majority – decided all the same to play it in Qatar.”

… Blatter is believed to have voted for the USA to host the 2022 World Cup while his prospective rival for the presidency, Uefa’s Michel Platini, voted for Qatar and has been closely linked in the public mind with the controversial plans for the 2022 tournament.

The Fifa inspection team ranked Qatar as the only “high risk” option overall, yet it was still chosen by 14 of the 22 voting members of the executive committee in December 2010. ….. 

Platini and others have denied being influenced by their heads of state into voting for Qatar for business reasons. ….. 

“I will never say that they bought it, because it was political pushing. Really, both in France and Germany,” said Blatter, who has previously claimed there was “definitely direct political influence” on European executive committee members to vote for Qatar.

France’s foreign ministry said the assertion was “without foundation”, despite the fact that Platini has admitted to attending a high level meeting with former president Nicolas Sarkozy and the now Qatari Emir.

 

“Dirty” FIFA and Qatar World Cup confirmed

March 18, 2014

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will already achieve the dubious distinction of causing more deaths than they will score goals perhaps 6 deaths per goal.

It has long been assumed that FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar was bought – not least because of FIFA’s long, institutionalised tradition of representatives accepting bribes and the poorly kept “secret” that any country wanting to host the World Cup must reserve bribe money in its budget – by whatever name is most appropriate.

Now the Telegraph reveals that millions changed hands just after Qatar was awarded the Championship:

A senior Fifa official and his family were paid almost $2 million (£1.2m) from a Qatari firm linked to the country’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup, The Telegraph can disclose.

Jack Warner, the former vice-president of Fifa, appears to have been personally paid $1.2 million (£720,000) from a company controlled by a former Qatari football official shortly after the decision to award the country the tournament.

Payments totalling almost $750,000 (£450,000) were made to Mr Warner’s sons, documents show. A further $400,000 (£240,000) was paid to one of his employees.

It is understood that the FBI is now investigating Trinidad-based Mr Warner and his alleged links to the Qatari bid, and that the former Fifa official’s eldest son, who lives in Miami, has been helping the inquiry as a co-operating witness.

The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was one of the most controversial decisions in sporting history. The intense summer heat in the desert nation has raised the prospect of the tournament being moved to the winter for the first time.

from pambazuka.org

EU Corruption Report: Brussels bureaucrats kill chapter on corruption in EU Institutions

February 3, 2014

The EU corruption report is out today and is getting a lot of media attention. It has no big surprises and estimates the cost of corruption directly in the member states to be about 120 billion € which is about the same size as the EU budget and is about 1% of the total EU GDP at about 12 trillion €.

But – in a major victory for the faceless bureaucrats of Brussels – the report does not consider corruption within EU Institutions as it was supposed to. My perception is that the corruption level within the EU Institutions is as bad as in the worst member state. In Brussels where the bureaucrats are drawn from member countries, the practices they employ are imported from what they are used to in their home countries. And Brussels – in my little experience and in my opinion – is perfectly suited to levelling-down and to the spreading of the worst practices available.

EU Observer: The European Commission has decided not to include a chapter on EU institutions in a report on corruption in member states …. The original plan, announced in 2011, was to assess corruption across the member states and within the EU institutions. EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom is set to release the first bi-annual report on Monday (3 February), around six months later than originally planned.

Malmstrom’s spokesperson Michael Cercone told this website in an email that the commission had considered assessing the anti-corruption efforts of the EU’s own institutions but “realised that this is something we will have to come back to in a future EU anti-corruption report – to be sure that the evaluation would be satisfactory and objective.”

And when this part of the report does come out – if it is ever completed – it will ensure that the analysis is set so far in the past that no current bureaucrats/politicians will be implicated.

But the size of the corruption suggests that while petty corruption is much lower than in some developing countries, the extent of large sophisticated contract scams is not insignificant. It takes a few thousands of petty corruption events to come up to the level of a single large contract scam. The Report points out that:

The individual country analyses revealed a wide variety of corruption-related problems, as well as of corruption control mechanisms, some of which have proved effective and others have failed to produce results. Nevertheless, some common features can be noted either across the EU or within clusters of Member States. The country analyses show that public procurement is particularly prone to corruption in the Member States, …..

Of course the EU countries exhibit a wide variety of behaviour and some member states view the payment of “fees” or the exchange of “favours” to get an advantage as a normal activity. As the report states “However, the long-standing absence of comprehensive anti-corruption strategies in some Member States which are facing systemic corruption problems turned out to be an issue of concern, ..”.  There is a political dimension as well Provoked by the crisis, social protests have targeted not only economic and social policies, but also the integrity and accountability of political elites. High-profile scandals associated with corruption, misuse of public funds or unethical behaviour by politicians have contributed to public discontent and mistrust of the political system. Integrity in politics is a serious issue for many Member States….”.

Oh well! Business will continue as usual in Brussels.

Sochi Winter Olympics: Champions of Corruption

January 28, 2014

A new site defines the Champions of Corruption at the Sochi Winter Games.

The site asserts:

sochi champions of corruption

Athletes are not the only people who compete in Sochi. Officials and businessmen also took part in the Games and turned them into a source of income. The Anti-Corruption Foundation honored the most distinguished money siphoners in five different sports

Classic Embezzlement, Arkady Rotenberg  

Verbal Freestyle, Vladimir Putin 

Ecological Multi-Sport, Vladimir Yakunin 

Pair Contract, Alexander Tkachyov and Roman Batalov 

Figure Lending, Vladimir Potanin

The site is ostensibly anti-corruption but the objectives are clearly political:

The AustralianAlexei Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who ran for mayor of Moscow last September, has used the site to combine data gathered during his own investigations with media accounts and other activists’ reports. According to Mr Navalny’s Encyclopaedia of Spending, the athletes are not the only people who compete: “Officials and businessmen also took part in the Games and turned them into a source of income.”

His site honours five “champions of corruption”, including President Vladimir Putin, who is accused of lying about the cost of the project when he claimed it was $US6.5 billion. Mr Putin has rejected the claims.

US “sells” Norway Ambassadorship to an uninformed hotelier

January 27, 2014

The uglier side of “democracy”.

That generous donors to the US political parties are rewarded with Ambassadorships is common knowledge. The smaller and “less important” countries are usually the destination for these bought positions unless a very large donation is made. $6.2 million can buy an Ambassadorship to France or Monaco.

And now Norway knows precisely how unimportant it is considered by Obama’s establishment as George Tsunis, a rich Greek-American hotelier and a very generous donor to the Democratic Party made an idiot of himself at the Senate confirmation hearings. After all he can’t do much harm sitting in Oslo!!!

He thought Norway was a Republic and didn’t know which parties were in the coalition ruling Norway. It would have been pointless asking him the name of the King. An ignorant person is a correct description – at least about Norway. He does apparently know something about running a hotel. It does not say much for his knowledge (and perhaps also his intelligence) but it does not say much either for the briefings he must have received from the State Department. A member of the Greek Orthodox church now going to be an expert in a Lutheran country!!

Or did the career diplomats deliberately make sure he was not briefed properly because they wanted to showcase his ignorance? 

George Tsunis at US Senate in Jnuary 2014 - source screen grab - The Local

George Tsunis at US Senate in Jnuary 2014 – source screen grab – The Local

Future US envoy displays total ignorance of Norway

The US’s next ambassador to Norway has committed a jaw-dropping diplomatic blunder before he even begins, describing politicians from the Progress Party, which has seven ministers, as “fringe elements” that “spew their hatred” in a US Senate hearing.

Asked by Senator John McCain what he thought it was about the “anti-immigration” Progress Party that appealed to Norwegian voters, Greek American businessman George Tsunis seemed unaware of the party’s role in the ruling coalition. 
“You get some fringe elements that have a microphone and spew their hatred,” he said in the pre-appointment hearing. “And I will tell you Norway has been very quick to denounce them.” 
McCain interrupted him, pointing out that as part of the coalition, the party was hardly being denounced. 
“I stand corrected,”  Tsunis said after a pause.  “I would like to leave my answer at… it’s a very,very open society and the overwhelming amount of Norwegians and the overwhelming amount of people in parliament don’t feel the same way.”
The blunder came after a faltering, incoherent performance from Tsunis, in which he made a reference to Norway’s “president”, apparently under the impression that the country is a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy. 
Tsunis founded the hotel management company Chartwell Hotels, which operates properties for InterContinental Hotels, and other major hotel groups. He is one of the leading figures in the Greek-American establishment, and is heavily involved in the Greek Orthodox Church. 
He donated $267,244 to the Democratic party in the 2012 election cycle, and $278,531 in 2010, making him one of the party’s top individual donors. 
His ineptitude has also been noticed in the US (but he was confirmed anyway).

billmoyers.com:

The State Department is filled with veteran foreign service officers with years of experience in international relations. Most of them are products of elite universities, where they studied subjects like conflict resolution or international trade theory. Many are multilingual, and all have deep expertise on the political scenes of various countries.

Yet they routinely watch as deep-pocketed political donors with little or no foreign service experience are appointed to serve as America’s ambassadors overseas. The practice is so common that a pair of international relations scholars at the University of Pennsylvania were able to put prices on various plumb ambassadorships. According to The New York Times, “the study found that political ambassadors who had made campaign donations of $550,000, or bundled contributions of $750,000, had a 90 percent chance of being posted to a country in Western Europe.” The best postings — in France or Monaco — could cost up to $6.2 million in direct contributions. ….

Other Norwegian media described Tsunis as having “trampled through the salad bowl,” according to Olivier Knox at Yahoo NewsKnox added that Tsunis wasn’t the first to fumble the hearing:

McCain, already flummoxed by the apparent inability of Obama’s choice to be ambassador to Hungary to list strategic US interests there, closed his questioning with a bit of sarcasm: “I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.”


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