Corruption Opportunties . . . [updated]

“Fight Corruption with Social Entrepreneurship”–award/grant competition from the Ashoka Foundation with Transparency International.  Three awards of £5,000 pounds each are available to support innovative initiatives, with submissions due by October 1, 2012.

Speaking of corruption, news today from the United States about Bradley Birkenfeld, possible Anglo Leasing suspect/witness.

Who is Bradley Birkenfeld?  Here is the link to the 2009 Mars Group post “The Bradley Birkenfeld Dossier: Amos Wako: Guess what?  President Obama could solve Anglo Leasing and he has a suspect in custody.”  After Birkenfeld was arrested in the U.S. in 2008, Kenya did request U.S. assistance with Birkenfeld for investigation of Anglo Leasing through a letter to Ambassador Ranneberger in March 2009.  Beyond that the situation is typically muddy as to what has transpired.

Today, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service confirmed that it has paid Birkenfeld $104MM as his “whistleblower” share of recoveries from massive tax fraud at UBS in Switzerland. Here is the Washington Post story.

From Star March 1, 2012:

THE Swiss government has frozen three bank accounts associated with Anglo Leasing suspect Deepak Kamani and opened money laundering charges against him and two Britons.

“The Swiss government has delivered on the requests regarding the money trail of Anglo Leasing suspects as requested by the Kenya government. The Swiss authorities believe that it was a case of money laundering. They also believe that the suspects infringed on the laws of Switzerland. The accounts that have been frozen belong to three individuals. The individuals are among those who set up the financial structure,” said Swiss ambassador Jacques Pitteloud in Nairobi yesterday. The two Britons were not named.

An unconfirmed report says that Kamani-associated companies may have had US$160 million (Sh13.6 billion) in accounts in Geneva with HSBC, Schroders, UBS and Pictet. In 2009 US national Bradley Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months for helping clients hide their money in a multibillion dollar international tax fraud over Swiss private banking. Bradley was intimately connected with the Kamani brothers – Deepak and Rashmi – who controlled 13 of the Anglo Leasing companies whose accounts Bradley managed when he worked for UBS.

Bradley’s private residential address was listed as the office of Midlands Finance and Securities Ltd which received 36 irrevocable and negotiable promissory notes worth euros 49.6 million for a sham loan that Kenya never received as part of the Anglo Leasing scam. Bradley also signed one of the 18 Anglo Leasing contracts on behalf of Info Talent to computerise the police force at a cost of $59.7 million (Sh5.1 billion). . . .

So, as of today, Birkenfeld is out of prison but serving the remainder of his sentence for assisting clients evade taxes in home detention in New Hampshire.  He has plenty of money.  His lawyers say they will seek a presidential pardon.  Sounds like a perfect opportunity for the governments of Kenya and the United States to cooperate on obtaining the details of the Anglo Leasing fraud from Birkenfeld and pursuing prosecutions and recovery of funds.


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