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.

At the beginning of 2009, activist comedian Mark Thomas decided to do a weekly show about the meltdown of the world's economy. "It's The Economy Stupid" combines stand up comedy with interviews with invited guests -- economists, academics, MPs, trade unionists, journalists (and members of The Corner House) -- on stage to explain what happened, find out what is going on, and explore what we can do about it.

The Corner House and CAAT issued this press release after the House of Lords (the UK's highest court) overturned the High Court's ruling of April 2008 that the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had acted unlawfully when he terminated a corruption investigation into BAE Systems' arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The law lords judgment confirms that the UK is in flagrant breach of its duty to implement and give force to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

On 30 July 2008, five Law Lords overturned the High Court's ruling of April 2008 when they stated that the SFO Director had acted lawfully in stopping a corruption investigation into BAE Systems' arms deals with Saudi Arabia when faced with a threat to national security. They stated that the Director's discretion to drop criminal proceedings extended legally to taking account of the threat uttered by Saudi Arabia that it would withdraw diplomatic and intelligence cooperation with the UK if the investigation continued, even though the threat was "ugly and obviously unwelcome".