26 June 2019
In a major step in fighting foreign corruption, U.S. is introducing a bipartisan bill, Kleptocrat Exposure Act, in the House this week. The Kleptocrat Exposure Act would effectively permit the State Department to publicly reveal which foreign officials had been barred from the United States on account of gross corruption or human rights abuses. The bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, would also extend to those officials’ immediate family members.
The bill would specifically permit the U.S. Secretary of State to publicly expose which of these officials, or which of their family members, have received visa bans on account of their malign activity. The current text of the bill doesn’t force U.S. officials to reveal the names of all of those who have received visa bans, but leaves it up to the discretion of the Secretary of State. The bill extends to cover those responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
Global criminals and corrupt autocrats seek to spend their ill-gotten gains in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and many other tax havens. They can indulge in luxury, pursue positions of influence, and exploit the rule of law, which protects their stolen wealth. The other countries should also have such provisions in their laws to eliminate foreign corruption.
It is true that when a person is tried and convicted in United States under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the country of the corrupt person seldom takes any action, especially if the person has high level connection. Nevertheless, this is a good start in preventing foreign corruption. Foreign countries also do not investigate corrupt activities often because high level government officials are involved in those corruptions.