The White House released the first ever US national anti-corruption strategy on Monday. According to details, the Strategy outlines a whole-of-government approach to initiate the fight against corruption, through better understanding and response to the threat’s transnational dimensions, efforts to reduce the ability of corrupt actors to use the US and international financial systems to hide assets and legalize the wealth gathered through corrupt practices.
The US anti-Corruption strategy consists of five pillars including Modernizing, coordinating, and resourcing US Government efforts to fight corruption, better understanding and responsiveness to the transnational dimensions of corruption, curbing illicit finances, holding Corrupt Actors Accountable, and perseverance and consolidation of multilateral anti-corruption architecture. According to reports, the US government intends to enhance intelligence collection and analysis on corrupt actors and their networks. It also wants to elevate anti-corruption work as an important priority in key departments and agencies across the federal government, including through coordinating bodies at the Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce, and USAID.
The strategy also calls for increasing law enforcement resources and strengthening information sharing mechanisms between the intelligence community and LEAs in the country. At the transnational level, the Biden administration urged to work with partner countries through multilateral forums, including diplomatic engagement, law enforcement cooperation, and capacity building of other nations to strengthen their anti-money laundering regimes to bring greater transparency to the international financial system. American leadership intends to work in collaboration with the G7 and G20 nations to strengthen transparency and anti-corruption measures across ministerial tracks through building and expanding accountable, effective, and resilient security institutions to eliminate corruption.
In fact, corruption is a universal peril and no nation and state has exemption from it. Due to strict financial regime, rule of the law and departmental accountability the cases of domestic corruption are likely to be minimal in the US, however United States laws, public and private entities remained helpful to foreign corrupt officials and criminals in hiding their illegal wealth/ crime while taking shelter of liberal US regime. Being a global leader in human rights and social liberties, the United States had been deficient in the domain of fight against the transnational corruption and corrupt practices during the past.
The US government has long condemned the transnational corruption and offshore financial centers; whereas it’s liberal rules and guarantees of discretion have always drawn oligarchs, corrupt politicians and business tycoons of other nations. According to a recently published report of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the key players in offshore systems are the elite institutions, multinational banks, law, and accounting firms based in the United States and Europe. The reports suggest that US based lobbying firms and secretive banking systems had helped the overseas customers in hiding their illegal offshore wealth with security and secrecy guarantees. Similarly, most of the offshore firms are registered in British Virgin Island, a UK’s held territory. The ICIJ’s investigations have identified 206 US based trusts holding more than $ 1 billion assets collectively and many of them are linked to people or firms accused of fraud, human rights abuses and corrupt practices including bribery and kickbacks. In fact, the Biden administration has taken a long awaited step; however it must review its financial laws, banking mechanism, FDI and charity regimes to control global menace of corruption in true spirit.