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Claims of UK police bribery are usually shocking enough on their own to elicit a strong reaction. Recent allegations, however, that bribes were paid to members of London’s Metropolitan Police Service Anti-Corruption Unit shock deeper still.

One year after Geoff Hoon spoke those now infamous words to undercover reporters, the former Defence Minister has taken a job with Augusta Westland. Hoon was in charge of the Ministry of Defence in 2005 when it awarded a helicopter contract to Westland worth one billion pounds.

Tetraethyl lead – a compound used in leaded petrol – was a major source of income for the international chemical firm, Innospec, before health and environmental concerns led to its abolishment in the US and Europe more than ten years ago.

This afternoon the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has confirmed that documents supplied to the police contain evidence that journalists working for the News of the World made ‘inappropriate payments’ to police officers in exchange for information.

Over the weekend another allegation of sport corruption hit the headlines. The Sunday Times claimed that a London football club, which has secured the use of the Olympic Stadium after the Games, was making regular payments to a member of the deciding body during the bidding process.

As the phone hacking scandal escalates, more and more evidence is emerging highlighting undercurrents of corruption that are embedded in our media, police, and political institutions. The relationship between media ownership and the UK political establishment has come under particular scrutiny over the past few days.

Though there are international treaties to control the sale of many goods, from dinosaur bones to postage stamps, there is no such treaty to control the trade in weapons worldwide. From July 11 to July 15, the 192 member states of the United Nations are meeting in New York to continue their negotiations towards an “Arms Trade Treaty” (ATT).

Criminal networks use corruption to carry out criminal activity, avoid investigation and escape prosecution. Criminal factions who abuse international borders in order to conduct their business put pressure on public services, local communities and legitimate businesses and an easy way to achieve this is through corruption.

Corruption can manifest itself in several stages of a conflict. In the 1980’s it was one of the initial drivers of conflict in Burundi, Guatemala and El Salvador. In all three, corruption catalysed a wide range of grievances against the central government by various social groups. Corruption can also thrive after the conflict has ended, preying on weak institutions which have not been allowed to fully form and develop.

A new study on donor transparency shows that many aid agencies are not putting into practice the levels of disclosure that they typically demand from the governments which receive their money. Produced by Publish What You Fund, the global campaign for aid transparency, the study compiles an index to see how different donor agencies measure-up when it comes to opening up their own books on how much aid they give, where and what for.

 

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