New Podcast Episode, Featuring Andrii Borovyk and Gretta Fenner

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available.I know that I said in the post announcing the episode from a couple weeks back that that one would be the last post before our summer vacation, but I spoke too soon–last week I had the opportunity to speak with Andrii Borovyk, the Executive Director of Transparency International’s Ukraine chapter, and Gretta Fenner, the Managing Director of the Basel Institute on Governance, about addressing corruption risks inherent in emergency aid to Ukraine during the current conflict and the anticipated future infusion of funds to assist with post-war reconstruction. (Full disclosure: I am on the Board of Directors for Transparency International Ukraine, an unpaid position, and in that capacity I have worked with Andrii, though not directly on this issue.) After sharing their respective backgrounds in the field, Andrii and Gretta discuss how Russia’s aggression affected anticorruption advocacy work within Ukraine, and emphasize the importance for both domestic and international actors to strengthen institutions and mechanisms to prevent corruption in aid and reconstruction efforts. The conversation touches on, among other things, the challenges of pushing an anticorruption agenda in a time of national emergency, the role that aid conditionalities can play in promoting effective reform, and the importance of open, accessible, and centralized public information repositories. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: This really will be the last podcast episode before we go on summer break, but we will be releasing new episodes in September. The Global Anticorruption Blog is also going to go on summer hiatus during August, though I may post occasionally if something particularly important and time-sensitive comes up. As always, I’ll remind you that KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN), encourage you to subscribe, and invite you to suggest for people or topics you’d like to hear on the podcast by sending me a message.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Mihaly Fazekas

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In the new episode, my ICRN colleagues Nils Kobis and Christopher Starke interview Mihaly Fazekas, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Central European University. Professor Fazekas explains how he became interested in the study of corruption and describes some of his lines of research, including his work on measurement of corruption, particularly in the context of public procurement, and the challenges of scaling up the best corruption measures. The interview also covers additional topics such as the role of investigative journalism in fighting corruption, and the anticorruption potential impact of new technologies, including big data analysis and artificial intelligence.

You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations:

A quick note: We will be going on summer break, so we will not be releasing any new episodes over the next six weeks, but KickBack will return with new episodes in September. KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Michel Sapin and Valentina Lana

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this episode, I interview Michel Sapin, who served in several senior positions in the French government (including as Minister of Finance from 1992-1993 and again from 2014-2017), and Valentina Lana, a French lawyer, compliance consultant, and lecturer at the Sciences Po Law Faculty in Paris. Our conversation focuses principally on the major legislative reform to French anticorruption law known as the Loi Sapin II (named for M. Sapin), which was adopted in December 2016 and went into effect in 2017. We discuss the changes in the political and economic environment that led to the passage of this law–which represented a dramatic shift in the French government’s approach to transnational bribery–and the impact that the law has had during the five-plus years that it has been in effect. My guests emphasize the positive impacts that the law has had in France, how it differs from the approach taken by the US and the UK, and how France and other countries should move forward on the anticorruption fight in the years to come. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Ray Fisman

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this episode, I had the opportunity to interview Boston University Professor Ray Fisman, one of the world’s foremost economists working on corruption and related topics. In our conversation, Professor Fisman and I cover a range of topics related to his research, including the impact of corruption on economic development, the distinctions among different kinds of corruption (and their different effects), the human costs of corruption, and the hidden influence of political connections. Professor Fisman also discusses the conversations that inspired and shaped his research agenda, and the advice that he would offer up-and-coming scholars interested in exploring this set of topics. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Frederik Obermaier

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. In this week’s episode, we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Frederik Obermaier of the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung, who is also affiliated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. We’ve been fortunate enough to have Mr. Obermaier on the podcast twice before, first in 2019 to discuss the Panama Papers, and then in 2020 to discuss the FinCEN Files. In this week’s episode, my ICRN colleague Christopher Starke talks with Mr. Obermaier about the work he and has collaborators have done on a set of stories based on another major leak, the so-called Suisse Secrets documents–files on thousands of customers of the Swiss Bank Credit Suisse, leaked by an anonymous source, which revealed that many Credit Suisse companies were extremely suspicious figures, including numerous corrupt politicians, as well as other organized crime figures and human rights abusers. The conversation highlights the systemic problems that continue to persist in the Swiss banking system, and more broadly. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.  

New Podcast, Featuring Gary Kalman

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. As our regular listeners are aware, for the last couple of months we have featured a series of special episodes focusing on how corruption issues relate to Russia’s war on Ukraine. While the war goes on, and we hope to continue to feature experts who can focus on that topic, this week we return to, for lack of a better term, our “regularly scheduled programming,” with an interview with Gary Kalman, the Director of Transparency International’s United States office. Gary has appeared on our podcast twice before (in February 2020 and February 2021), so this interview, which was conducted this past February, can be seen as the continuation of what has become an annual tradition. As in our previous conversations, we focus on anticorruption developments in the United States. More specifically, we discuss ongoing rulemaking proceedings to implement the Corporate Transparency Act, the significance and potential impact of the Biden Administration’s Countering Corruption strategy document, the impact of the December 2021 Summit for Democracy on global anticorruption efforts, proposals for new US anticorruption legislation (such as the proposed ENABLERS Act and Foreign Extortion Prevention Act), and, going forward, what Gary believes are the most important challenges and agenda items for Transparency International’s US office.

You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations:

KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends! And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast, Featuring Anastasia Kirilenko

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. During the ongoing emergency in Ukraine, as Russia’s unprovoked military aggression throws the region and the world into crisis, my colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) and I featuring on KickBack experts who can shed greater light on how issues related to corruption relate to the ongoing crisis. And rather than keeping to our usual schedule of releasing new episodes every two weeks, we will release new episodes as soon as they are available. In the new episode, my ICRN colleague Christopher Starke interviews Anastasia Kirilenko, an investigative journalist and the co-producer of Putin and the Mafia, a documentary about Vladimir Putin’s connections with organized crime. In their conversation, Christopher and Anastasia discuss the themes of this documentary, and also discuss the role of media and civil society in Russia, the role of oligarchs in Russian politics, and what the international anticorruption community could do to more effectively promote change within Russia. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends. And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Svitlana Musiiaka

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. During the ongoing emergency in Ukraine, as Russia’s unprovoked military aggression throws the region and the world into crisis, my colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) and I running a special series on KickBack, featuring experts who can shed greater light on how issues related to corruption relate to the ongoing crisis. And rather than keeping to our usual schedule of releasing new episodes every two weeks, we will release new episodes as soon as they are available. In the new episode, ICRN Member and guest host Oksana Huss speaks with Svitlana Musiaaka, a Ukrainian lawyer and anticorruption specialist who currently serves as the Head of Research and Policy at NAKO, an independent Ukrainian civil society organization that focuses on combating corruption in the defense and security sector. The conversation opens with a discussion of Ms. Musiaaka’s professional background and the work of NAKO, and then proceeds to how Ukraine has worked on reforming its defense sector to promote transparency and effectiveness. She also emphasizes how reforms in Ukraine have helped the Ukrainian military’s performance against the Russian army, and concludes by discussing what the international community can do to support Ukraine now. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends. And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Oksana Nesterenko

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. During the ongoing emergency in Ukraine, as Russia’s unprovoked military aggression throws the region and the world into crisis, my colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) and I are going to try as best as we can to feature on KickBack experts who can shed greater light on how issues related to corruption relate to the ongoing crisis. And rather than keeping to our usual schedule of releasing new episodes every two weeks, we will release new episodes as soon as they are available. In the new episode, I was privileged to welcome to the podcast Oksana Nesterenko, Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla and Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre. Professor Nesterenko was forced to leave Kyiv after the Russian attack, and she spoke with me from Poland, where she, like so many of her fellow citizens, is a refugee. In the first part of our conversation, Professor Nesterenko explains why the war between Russia and Ukraine is really a war of values, and why gradual reforms in Ukraine in the direction of liberal democracy and anticorruption threatened the Putin regime, and why this, rather than any actual military or security threat to Russia, is the real underlying reason for the Putin regime’s attempt to topple the current Ukrainian government. She also explains that Putin’s war is also an attempt to deflect domestic attention from his regime’s failures, including the government dysfunction caused by his corrupt approach to governance. She also provides an assessment of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s pre-war anticorruption efforts, emphasizing that from the perspective of anticorruption activists were disappointed in the lack of progress on some issues, but recognizing that as a politician he had to balance interests and demands from different stakeholders. In the final part of our conversation, we turn to the question of Russian (and Ukrainian) dirty money flowing into wealthy Western countries, and what more can and should be done to stop this. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends. And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

New Podcast Episode, Featuring Inna Melnykovska

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. During the ongoing emergency in Ukraine, as Russia’s unprovoked military aggression throws the region and the world into crisis, my colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) and I are going to try as best as we can to feature on KickBack experts who can shed greater light on how issues related to corruption relate to the ongoing crisis. And rather than keeping to our usual schedule of releasing new episodes every two weeks, we will release new episodes as soon as they are available. In the new episode, I had the opportunity to speak to Inna Melnykovska, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Central European University. Professor Melnykovska is an expert on state-business relations and crony capitalism in Ukraine and Russia, and is working on a book project tentatively titled Global Money, Local Politics: Big Business, Capital Mobility and the Transformation of Crony Capitalism in Eurasia. Our podcast conversation focuses on her research in this area and its implications for the current crisis. We discuss the similarities and contrasts between the “crony capitalism” systems in Ukraine and Russia, the extent to which Ukrainian President Zelensky was pursuing policies that would reduce the influence of oligarchs on Ukrainian government, whether movement toward cleaner and more democratic government in Ukraine may have been perceived by Putin’s administration as a political threat, and whether (or when) we might hope that economic sanction on Russian elites and oligarchs might have a political impact. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations:

KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends. And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.