What Does Corruption Look Like


Forty-three student teachers went missing from the southwestern Mexican city of Iguala in 2014 after clashing with local police. Their abduction caused an international uproar over human rights abuses in Mexico. The government originally said the students were detained by corrupt local police, handed over to a drug gang, and incinerated in a rubbish dump before their ashes were thrown into a river. But a panel of international experts rejected the notion that all the students' bodies were burned at the dump, saying the investigation was full of holes. So far, the remains of only one of the missing students has been positively identified and the whereabouts of the rest remain a mystery. (Photo by Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters)



Jimmy Morales, a former TV comedian, was carried to the presidency of Guatemala in 2015 on a wave of public anger over political corruption uncovered by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. Set up to deal with paramilitary gangs in 2007, the CICIG went from being an obscure, forgotten office of the United Nations to a force that ousted President Otto Perez (seen here during an interview with Reuters at the Matamoros Army Base while awaiting trial in Guatemala City). Information gleaned from the cell phone of a Chinese businessman caught up in a prior customs fraud was used to untangle a scheme where importers paid bribes to avoid customs duties. According to the CICIG, the scam led all the way to Perez and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti. In September 2015, Perez was ordered to stand trial for corruption. (Photo by Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters)



FIFA was thrown into crisis by U.S. investigations into alleged widespread financial wrongdoing stretching back more than two decades. Sepp Blatter, who had led soccer's world governing body since 1998, was banned from soccer activities for ethics violations in December. (Photo by Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)



In 2015, Toshiba was found to have inflated its earnings by around $1.2 billion over several years. It was Japan's biggest accounting scandal since Olympus Corp in 2011. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Reuters)



Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that about 11 million of its cars worldwide were fitted with software to cheat diesel emissions tests that are designed to limit car fumes blamed for respiratory diseases and global pollution. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)



Chemical blasts in the Chinese port city of Tianjin killed 165 people in 2015. The government put the losses in the 10th busiest port in the world at more than $1 billion. An official report on the disaster blamed the ignition of hazardous materials which had been improperly or illegally stored on site. Company executives also said they used their connections to get fire safety and environmental approvals through unofficial channels. Anger over safety standards is growing in China, after three decades of swift economic growth marred by incidents from mining disasters to factory fires. President Xi Jinping has vowed that authorities will learn lessons. (Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters)



The destruction of Brazil's Amazon forest, the world's largest intact rain forest, increased by 16% in 2015 as the government struggled to enforce legislation and stop illegal clearings in a region the size of Western Europe. The government considers illegal logging the main factor behind the deforestation of the Amazon region, with about 5,000 square km of rain forest destroyed every year. Illegal logging relies on corruption and could not occur without some form of consent from government officials responsible for protecting forests, according to a report by the United Nations and Interpol. The report estimates 15-30% of wood traded globally has been obtained illegally. Deforestation makes up to around 17% of the world's heat-trapping gases, more than the entire transport sector. Besides being a giant carbon sink, the Amazon is a biodiversity sanctuary, holding myriad species yet to be studied. (Photo by Nacho Doce/Reuters)



The collapse of Rana Plaza, built on swampy ground outside the capital Dhaka, killed 1,135 workers, many of them making garments for Western retailers. A former chief engineer of the state-run Capital Development Authority said the owner had not received proper consent for the building, and that an extra three stories were added illegally. The disaster ranks amongst the world's worst industrial accidents, and sparked calls for safety improvements in the world's second-largest exporter of ready-made garments. Global fashion retailers say the tragedy prompted them to work together more closely to protect workers and ensure the safety of buildings. Some countries have introduced laws to make the supply chain more transparent. (Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters)





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