The paper targets the nexus between corruption and money laundering. Scholars and practitioners recently observed how offshore financial centers and financial infrastructures have become central in facilitating corruption and other criminal activities. 

Offshore vehicles often serve to conceal the connections between business people and politically exposed persons. Secrecy jurisdictions and service providers have emerged as key actors in these illicit schemes. 

The paper explores the following questions: 

Corruption is frequently associated with money alone and the behaviours of a few individual “bad apples” operating in otherwise healthy governance systems. This is too simplistic. As the latest research shows, including research in Tanzania and Uganda on which this Policy Brief is based, corruption is a networked phenomenon. This Policy Brief explains what this means and its implications for anti-corruption practice.

Over 80 arbitrators, lawyers and experts from around the world gathered at the University of Basel on 10 January 2020 to tackle the thorny issues of corruption and money laundering in international arbitration.

Corruption and money laundering affecting an underlying dispute are a considerable challenge for arbitrators and parties in investment and commercial arbitration. 

If corruption and/or money laundering is established, arbitrators need to decide about the legal consequences for the parties’ claims.

Corruption, particularly bribery of government officials, inflicts substantial damage on people, society, and the world, and warrants control. Collective efforts to control corruption tend to focus on rules and compliance with those rules. This paper suggests that collective action also consider the creation of strong ethical cultures in business firms. Implementation of such programs is impeded by the difficulty in prescribing a course of action and by the difficulty in measuring the strength of an ethical culture.

Corruption undermines nearly all key legal and developmental priorities today, including the effective functioning of democratic institutions and honest elections; environmental protection; human rights and human security; international development programs; and fair competition for global trade and investment.

In many countries high levels of corruption persist in spite of the adoption of so-called anti-corruption “best practices”. In this paper we make a call to pursue a context-sensitive inquiry into the drivers of corruption in order to substantially improve the practices and effects of anti-corruption.

It is a fact that states with a high corruption rate (or a high corruption perception) are at the same time those with a bad human rights situation. Beyond this coincidence, the paper seeks to identify a concrete legal relationship between corruption and deficient human rights protection. This seems relevant and practical terms, because the extant international norms against corruption have so far yielded only modest success; their implementation could be improved with the help of human rights arguments and instruments.

This paper therefore discusses a dual question: