December 13, 2022

The Corruption of Small States: Switzerland And Qatar

An excerpt from, "Vast Leak Exposes How Credit Suisse Served Strongmen and Spies" By Jesse Drucker and Ben Hubbard, New York Times, February 20, 2022:

The client rosters of Swiss banks are among the world’s most closely guarded secrets, protecting the identities of some of the planet’s richest people and clues into how they accumulated their fortunes.

Now, an extraordinary leak of data from Credit Suisse, one of the world’s most iconic banks, is exposing how the bank held hundreds of millions of dollars for heads of state, intelligence officials, sanctioned businessmen and human rights abusers, among many others.

A self-described whistle-blower leaked data on more than 18,000 bank accounts, collectively holding more than $100 billion, to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper shared the data with a nonprofit journalism group, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and 46 other news organizations around the world, including The New York Times.

The data covers accounts that were open from the 1940s until well into the 2010s but not the bank’s current operations.

Among the people listed as holding amounts worth millions of dollars in Credit Suisse accounts were King Abdullah II of Jordan and the two sons of the former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak. Other account holders included sons of a Pakistani intelligence chief who helped funnel billions of dollars from the United States and other countries to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Venezuelan officials ensnared in a long-running corruption scandal.

An excerpt from, "The FIFA Scandal and the Distorted Influence of Small States" By Matthew Louis Bishop and Andrew F. Cooper, Global Governance Vol. 24, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2018), pp. 21-40 (20 pages):

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME OF ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL (SOCCER) HAS BROUGHT out the ugly side of smallness in global politics. In mid-2015, a long- running corruption scandal finally engulfed the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). In dawn raids at its international congress in Zurich, the Swiss authorities, at the behest of the US Department of Justice, arrested a number of key executives, with extradition proceedings beginning against others, and charges including racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering laid against them. Intriguingly, many of the key protagonists are from (very) small states, and even tiny nonindependent territories: the trio of Austin "Jack" Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar, and Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands all became influential power brokers, overshadowing their counterparts from the larger countries that comprise the traditional heartlands of the sport and, indeed, those that commonly exert control over other global governance institutions. Moreover, Qatar - a country with little soccer heritage, which has never qualified for a senior men's World Cup, with few stadia of requisite quality and an unwelcoming summer climate - won the rights to host the 2022 tournament, provoking an intense backlash and further consolidating suspicions of corruption.