This Week’s Highlights From OCCRP – 31 May 2017

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EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent ‘Ghost’ Offices

Hundreds of members of the European Parliament are potentially misusing EU funds meant to pay for offices in their home country, but at least 249 of these offices either do not exist or are nowhere to be found.

Each month MEPs are given a tax-free lump sum of €4,342, called the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA). The fund costs the EU around €40 million annually and is meant to provide MEPs with national offices that, among other things, should keep them in touch with citizens.

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News Highlights

The Latest In Organized Crime & Corruption
U.S. Cuts Ties With a Dozen Aid Suppliers to Syria Found to be Corrupt
The U.S. government said it has suspended its business ties with 12 delivery and supply companies and affiliates based in Turkey that are embroiled in a fraud scheme involving humanitarian aid in Syria.
Dominican Republic Arrests 12 in Odebrecht Corruption Scandal
Dominican Republic authorities said they arrested a cabinet minister and several top-level officials for their connection to the widening bribery scandal involving the Brazilian company Odebrecht.
Report: Tens of Billions of Dollars Stolen Annually from Africa
Illicit financial flows are allowing wealthy countries to profit from Africa’s wealth to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.
Siberian Newspaper Editor, Known for Exposing Corruption, Shot Dead in his Bathhouse
The chief editor of a newspaper in the Siberian city of Minusinsk was shot dead in a killing that authorities said they believe may be connected to his work.
Ukraine Arrests 23 in ‘Biggest Ever’ Corruption Crackdown
Ukrainian authorities arrested 23 former high-ranking tax officials who are suspected of helping ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s government to defraud the state of nearly US$ 4 billion.
U.S. Charges another 21 in Thai Sex Trafficking Enterprise
A prosecutor in Saint Paul, Minnesota, unsealed the indictment of another 21 people allegedly involved in a sex trafficking enterprise that lured poor women from Thailand to the United States and then turned them into sex slaves.
Interpol Detects New Narcotic Smuggling Methods and Routes
Interpol said it discovered new routes and methods West Asian and African criminal networks use to smuggle narcotics – for example, swallowing condoms filled with liquid cocaine and safely passing through airport security.
Bulgaria, Turkey and France Arrest 22 for Trafficking Ancient Antiques into Western Europe
Authorities across Bulgaria, Turkey and France have arrested 22 people for illegally excavating ancient antiques and trafficking them into Western Europe.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is a joint program of a number of regional investigative centers and independent media from Eastern Europe to Central Asia and beyond. We constantly strive to help the people of the regions we work in to better understand how organized crime and corruption affect their lives.

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