you're reading...


Corruption, money laundering and terrorism: is there any relationship?

On 4th Febraury 2015, Transparency International(TI) published an interesting article which describes how corruption and terrorism are well interconnected. This is certainly not a news for insiders who have been monitoring such relation, but as TI stresses “such a link has never been clearer”. In particular, in countries where corruption is rife, problems with security and terrorism are rife. Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Nigeria, four of the world’s conflict hot-spots are just a few recent examples.

TI offers also examples where such direct link is very clear:

  • Reports that segments of the Iraqi army are riddled with corruption have been cited as one reason why the army crumbled in the face of ISIS.
  • Widespread corruption in the Nigerian army is considered a factor in the army’s inability to halt Boko Haram, particularly in regions where soldiers are not paid in full and morale is low.
  • In Ukraine reports say it’s cheaper for new recruits to bribe their way out of military service than buy the gear they need for combat, as the Ministry of Defence has inadequate supplies.

The process by which corruption can lead to terrorism includes money laundering, and TI explains such a process in a very simple way.

“Corruption: when disenfranchised populations see leaders amassing wealth unfairly through corruption while their governments fail to deliver services, people get angry. This frustration may make them turn to other bodies for protection, swelling the ranks of insurgent or organised crime groups. Corruption breeds inequality, which has been shown to increase violence.

Funding  (Money Laundering): Patrons may use secret companies and transfer funds illegally in order to support organised crime and terrorist groups. Al Qaeda and Hezbollah have allegedly been found to have set up two charities as fronts for their finances in South Africa, which is just one example. 

Arms: When controls on the export of arms are weak, weapons can end up in dangerous hands and fuel violence. According to Louise Shelley, executive director of Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre, the US provided weapons to Iraqi security forces but didn’t monitor where they went, and they often ended up on the black market. Some of these weapons were trafficked to Turkey and used for terrorist attacks.

Access: Bribes can allow terrorists or criminals to cross borders, acquire visas and other official documents, and gain access to buildings.”

Although governments and international institutions should tackle any form of corruption through appropriate measures in line with the highest standard of transparency and fairness, corporations and financial institutions need also to give their contribution. They can do it adopting, implementing and maintaining policies and procedures based on a pragmatic risk based approach. Ultimately, criminals and terrorists would not have an easy life if public and private sectors react against corruption, money laundering and terrorism.

Source: Transparency International


No comments yet.

Post a Comment