The Dubious Friends Of Donald Trump Part Two: King Of Diamonds

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Although still in its early days, Donald Trump’s presidency is coming under fire. The Russians are alleged to be in possession of sensitive information about Trump. And that exposes Trump to blackmail. Fake news, tweets Trump: “I have nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, no nothing!” Trump swears he has no ties with the Russians. But is that actually the case?

In the second part of our programme about Donald Trump’s controversial friends, we will set our sights on the Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who is controversial because he is suspected of trading in blood diamonds. He is one of the world’s biggest diamond traders and owns prestigious stores in New York and Moscow, but he is also the owner of Siebel, the Netherlands’ biggest jewellery chain. Leviev has ties with Russian president Putin, US president Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump, however, claims he hardly knows this “King of Diamonds” . Zembla investigates Lev Leviev’s business empire.  The dubious friends of Donald Trump part two: King of Diamonds

Watch the first part of the dubious friends of Donald Trump: ‘the Russians’ here.

Blood Diamond/  Cartoon Movement

 

 

Cartooning for Peace Report

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On World Press Freedom Day, Cartooning for Peace publishes
its first 2016/2017 report on the situation of cartoonists around the world.

Whether their cartoons deal with politics, economics, sport or religion, cartoonists face the same threats as other types of journalists who cover sensitive subjects.

Whether they are victims of censorship, legal proceedings, unfair dismissal, physical assaults or imprisonment, the threats that hang over the cartoonists inform us about the status of democracy at times of insecurity and troubles.

In an international context in which freedom of expression is under frequent attack, it is crucial for cartoonists to express themselves, to share in their experience and recount their struggles. In doing so, they will help us to not close our eyes on what is going on around the world.

“Most importantly, let’s not give up. We should never abandon the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: freedom of expression is one of its pillars, freedom of the press one of its emanations.” Vladimir Vasak, Board member of Cartooning for Peace, Investigative reporter ARTE. Cartooning for Peace Report

The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians

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Although still in its early days, Donald Trump’s presidency is coming under fire. The Russians are alleged to be in possession of sensitive information about Trump. And that exposes Trump to blackmail. Fake news, tweets Trump: “I have nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, no nothing!” Trump swears he has no ties with the Russians. But is that actually the case?

For months, the FBI have been investigating Russian interference in the American presidential elections. ZEMBLA is investigating another explosive dossier concerning Trump’s involvement with the Russians: Trump’s business and personal ties to oligarchs from the former Soviet Union. Powerful billionaires suspected of money laundering and fraud, and of having contacts in Moscow and with the mafia. What do these relationships say about Trump and why does he deny them? How compromising are these dubious business relationships for the 45th president of the United States? And are there connections with the Netherlands? ZEMBLA meets with one of Trump’s controversial cronies and speaks with a former CIA agent, fraud investigators, attorneys, and an American senator among others…The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians
The Curious World / James S. Henry
Donald Trumps Private Russian Connections

Trump’s Organized Crime Ties Bring Blackmail to the White House
Trump business partner accused of involvement in Dutch-based money laundering scheme
What American Television Should Tell You About Donald Trump’s ties to Russia

How Corruption Affects Climate Change

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Climate change, like corruption, is a matter of life or death.

The evidence is hard and clear. 2016 was the hottest year ever on record, extreme “once in a generation” weather events are becoming more regular, and fragile ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef are dying. Climate change is no longer a future threat; it is here.

As part of the negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement, world leaders agreed to mobilise US $100 billion in climate finance by 2020, and the same amount each year thereafter. How these funds are spent could save the lives of millions now, and ensure billions in the future are set on a safe path.

The Paris Agreement has come too late to stop the early impact of climate change. Even now the world’s ability to meet the Agreement’s targets depend on a real surge of political will, which is shockingly absent from the current US Administration.

Transparency International’s role in this to help ensure that the billions of dollars already pledged go where they’re needed. This requires transparency.

“Climate change and corruption share many symptoms. They hit the poorest first and worst. They are caused by powerful individuals or entities seeking short term gain. In the long term, they put livelihoods at risk and threaten entire economies. They thrive on the flaws of national governments: you need strong global cooperation to stop them.” – Vania Montalvo, Transparencia Mexicana “….How Corruption Affects Climate Change

Corruption Perceptions-Index-2016/

Museum of Natural Science

Teresa Habild
www.h-bild.de
A global climate catastrophe once led to extinction

W20 Summit 2017 Berlin

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G20-Women Summit 2017 W20 in Berlin Germany.
W20 Communique Final

Diverse, Resilient and Viable –
Stabilising Economies and Societies Through Women’s Empowerment

The main goal of Women20 (W20) is to promote women’s economic empowerment as an integral part of the G20 process. In a broad dialogue using digital tools, expert meetings and roundtables as well as the W20 Summit, W20 joins the global experiences of women’s civil society organizations and women’s entrepreneur associations to implement strong recommendations within the G20 negotiations.

Diversity and full participation are essential for fostering the resilient, sustainable and viable growth of stable economies and societies, whereas homogeneous systems bear risks and uncertainties.  Women’s economic empowerment is thus fundamental for a prosperous world and essential for economic growth, stable economies and social development.

In 2017, W20 will focus on the following four pillars:

Labour Market Inclusion
Increasing the labour market participation rate and the value of work traditionally done by women

Financial Inclusion
Promoting female entrepreneurship and access to finance for women

Digital Inclusion
Closing the digital gender divide

Strengthening the W20
Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment at the core of G20

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and Honorary chair of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion; Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland; Director of the IWF Christine Lagarde; Vice Chairman of the Bank of America Anne Finucane; Kenyan high-tech founder Juliana Rotich; Chairwoman of the Trumpf GmbH Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller;  and First Daughter and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump.

Women20 Germany 2017
WomenTwenty_Ger
 

Harm Bengen
www.w-t-w.org/en/harm-bengen
www.harmbengen.de

Are Women Punished Harder by the Financial Industry?

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A new working paper finds that male financial advisers are considerably more likely to recover after they commit misconduct.

Whet Moser reports: When it comes to sexism in powerful and competitive industries like tech and finance, research tends to start with representation: how many women are employed at different levels of the companies? How many are on corporate boards?

If the number’s not representative of the general population, though, the problem can be difficult to diagnose. Is the problem in the industry itself? Does it go back farther into the talent pipeline, to graduate school, undergraduate, or even K-12, where young women or girls are gradually dissuaded from picking up the skills they need?

A new working paper, When Harry Fired Sally- The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct from three professors of finance including the University of Chicago’s Gregor Matvos, takes a clever approach to measuring the presence of gender discrimination in finance: what happens to financial advisers after they commit misconduct? The pipeline question is eliminated; the group under examination is already in the industry…

Why would men be more likely to receive second chances, even though they’re statistically more risky as a gender and not significantly more productive? The authors don’t speculate on mechanisms, but finance professor Lily Fang spent five years looking into gender issues in the stock-research field, and found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, “the networking and personal connections that male analysts rely on so heavily to get ahead are much less useful for women in similar jobs.” It’s who you know: and, possibly, it’s not just about getting ahead, but also not falling off the map. Are Women Punished Harder By the Financial Industry

«Laundromat» Money Laundering Switzerland as a Hub

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An anonymous tip to Dutch authorities on thousands of suspicious accounts at Credit Suisse could hardly have come at a worse time for Switzerland and its banks.

Joshua Franklin reports: The information that triggered raids in five countries raises new doubts about the effectiveness of Switzerland’s efforts to shed its decades-old reputation as one of the world’s major tax havens.

“It’s a wake-up call not only for the banking community but also for authorities,” said Mark Pieth, an anti-corruption expert and criminal law professor at the University of Basel.

“Instead of really just being angry at others they should ask, have we really been zealous enough?”

Switzerland is among the countries that signed up to a global data-sharing program led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, known as the Automatic Exchange of Information, which was designed to root out tax dodgers.

Swiss banks, having paid more than $5 billion to settle allegations of helping wealthy Americans evade taxes, have trumpeted their reformed ways, publicly encouraging clients to sign up to government programs allowing them to declare untaxed assets.

But last week’s raids of Credit Suisse’s offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam as part of a coordinated investigation in five countries show Switzerland still has a way to go to break with its past.

It is a wake-up call for financial markets as well.
“People really thought that, with the upcoming Automatic Exchange of Information and the cleanup of the European client portfolio completed, this stuff shouldn’t be an issue anymore,” Andreas Venditti, banking analyst at Vontobel, said. “Now the market seems to be confused about what to think.”

Another sign that Switzerland has to work harder to improve its reputation was the apparently deliberate efforts by Eurojust, the European Union judicial agency which helped coordinate last week’s raids, to keep Swiss prosecutors out of the loop on enforcement actions.

Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General on Friday demanded a written explanation for the snub.

In the new investigation, raids began on Thursday in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, France and Australia, with visits also made at three of Credit Suisse’s offices. This followed a tip-off to Dutch prosecutors about 55,000 “suspect accounts”.

One of the big questions is how many of the accounts represent existing client relationships at Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, and how many are legacy accounts from when Swiss banking secrecy shielded customers’ money from tax authorities.

Iqbal Khan, the head of Credit Suisse’s International Wealth Management division, said in an interview he did not know where the 55,000 figure referred to by the Dutch office for financial crimes prosecution had come from as the bank had fewer accounts than that for all of Europe.
OCCRP
Credit Suisse Taxevasion
Laundromat/ Schweiz als Drehscheibe

OCCRP

OECD Economic Surveys: China 2017

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OECD Economic Surveys: China 2017The latest OECD Economic Survey of China projects that the Chinese economy will remain the major driver of global growth for the foreseeable future, with per capita GDP on course to almost double by 2020 from 2010 levels. The Survey recommends continued efforts to rebalance the economy from investment to consumption and to address key risks including high corporate debt, excess industrial capacity and inflated housing prices.

“After decades of breath-taking expansion, the focus should be on making growth more resilient, sustainable and inclusive, and addressing risks to stability,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “China’s economy should now be driven less by physical investment and more by innovation, it should deleverage and it should, above all, become greener.”

Financial risks are mounting on the back of rising enterprise debt and over-capacity in some sectors, as well as real estate price exuberance. Debt owed by non-financial firms in China, encouraged by implicit state guarantees to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and public entities, reached 170% of GDP in 2016, the highest level among leading economies. Two-thirds of enterprise debt is owed by SOEs. Steps to tackle financial risks should include gradually removing implicit guarantees to SOEs and restricting leveraged investment in asset markets.

Laundered Russian Cash Went Through Big Banks

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British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money. Billions of dollars were moved out of Russia in ‘Global Laundromat’ operation, with anonymously owned UK companies playing major role.

Britain’s high street banks processed nearly $740m from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB, the Guardian can reveal.

HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among 17 banks based in the UK, or with branches here, that are facing questions over what they knew about the international scheme and why they did not turn away suspicious money transfers…..theguardian.com

The Global Laundromat: where the money went

OCCRP/Laundromat

International Women’s Day

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The best and worst places to be a working woman

MARCH 8th is International Women’s Day, a date designated by the UN to celebrate and advocate for women’s rights. To provide a benchmark for progress on gender equality in the labour market, The Economist has published its fifth annual “glass-ceiling index”. It combines data on higher education, workforce participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs into a single measure of where women have the best—and worst—chances of equal treatment in the workplace. Each country’s score is a weighted average of its performance on ten indicators. …The Economist

The Economist’s glass-ceiling index measures gender equality in the labour market.