37. Private equity has become an integral part of the world's financial system, creating a new type of corporate conglomerate that is reshaping the way business is conducted. It poses new challenges to labour unions, NGOs and community groups because of its influence on taxation policy, corporate governance, labour rights and public services. These challenges are especially clear in Asia, which private equity firms are targeting since the "credit crunch" took hold. Private equity's vulnerabilities, however, may provide opportunities to address public concerns.

On 17 October 2008, the OECD's Working Group on Bribery issued a report, which holds that the UK authorities did breach their obligations under the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention when the Serious Fraud Office cancelled its investigation into arms deals between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia in December 2006. The Corner House and the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) issued this press release of the report, which vindicates their judicial review of the decision.

38. The current protectionist backlash against state-owned sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), particularly from the Middle East and China, stems from Western policy makers' fears that SWFs follow strategic political objectives rather than commercial interests, investing in Western companies and banks to secure control of strategically important industries such as telecommunications, energy and banking. This paper examines these fears in order to understand the potential impact and implications of sovereign wealth funds in a rapidly-changing global political economy.

Environmentally- and socially-destructive development projects are increasingly being funded by hedge funds, private equity and sovereign wealth funds (instead of by public or private banks) that are not subject to transparency, governance or reporting requirements. Public financial institutions are also investing in these alternative vehicles, which are often based in offshore tax havens. Basic information about these vehicles is not routinely made public. But in the midst of the financial crisis, the Asian Development Bank is pushing for even less transparency for such risky investments. Regulatory authorities should instead focus on much stronger transparency and accountability requirements and address the use by public financial institutions of "secrecy jurisdictions".

Huge amounts of money and capital have been able to move around the world with ease over the past few years. Governments appear not to have been aware what was going on, let alone to know what to do now in the ensuing crisis. In fact, it was (mainly Northern) governments that created the enabling environment for such free movement of capital and new financial products in the first place. This paper describes how they did so.

Not all markets can be regulated effectively. Two examples are the markets for advanced credit derivatives – largely responsible for the current economic crisis -- and the growing carbon markets that are claimed to be capable of addressing global warming and that are the particular subject of this draft chapter. The attempt to regulate such markets does little more than create an illusion of governance where none actually exists. That only allows the dangers to grow larger.


Cuando la regulación se convierte en corrupción: El caso de los mercados de compensación de carbono

No todos los mercados se pueden regular con eficacia. Un ejemplo son los mercados de derivados de crédito que son una de las causas de la crisis financiera. Otro ejemplo son los mercados de carbono que constituyen la "solución" al calentamiento global, favorecida por la mayoría de los gobiernos del mundo. El intento de regular estos mercados no hace más que crear una ilusión de una gobernabilidad que en realidad no existe. Esta ilusión sólo permite que los peligros crezcan más.

This presentation at the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference highlights the contrast between the UK government's stated commitments to tackling bribery and corruption and its actions in practice. Far from having a "lack of political will", it is argued that the government has immense political will to protect powerful companies from prosecution for bribery, and has thereby created a hostile political environment for fraud investigators and prosecutors.

Will current plans to expand carbon trading in the US and elsewhere work? No. Carbon trading is aimed at the wrong objective, squanders resources on the wrong things, requires knowledge and institutions that do not exist, is antidemocratic, interferes with positive solutions, and puts ideology above experience.

The European Union claims that it is "on track" to meet its modest Kyoto Protocol emissions targets. It is not. Much more importantly, it is not "on track" to wean itself off fossil fuels -- which is the real point of climate change mitigation efforts.

On 12-13 March 2009, development, environment and human rights groups from Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK, and local residents of the island of Jersey organised a seminar to discuss the necessity for tax haven reform and to exchange views on how governments and civil society can work towards achieving a "just transition" for tax havens that would not impact on poorer residents.