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Private finances get new public scrutiny in France

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 10, 2013 at 10:02 am •  Published: April 10, 2013

The most spectacular purge in recent years has been that of Bo Xilai, the telegenic son of a veteran of the revolution who ran the city of Chongqing. Bo has yet to be put on trial but was expelled from the Communist Party in September and accused of taking massive bribes. With no independent investigation, Chinese believe he was ousted more for his ambition than for corruption.


Members of Parliament, including ministers, are required to publicly report their income from gifts and work outside Parliament but not the value of all their financial interests and assets. Ministers also must disclose any other involvements, including charities, which might conflict with their responsibilities.


Russian officials have three months to shed their overseas bank accounts or stocks under a new measure introduced by President Vladimir Putin, but some analysts have said some Russian officials would still be able to keep money in accounts that are tied to offshore companies or under the names of proxies — a common practice in tax havens. Russia's former Central Bank chief estimated that about $49 billion, which is equivalent to 2.5 percent of Russia's gross domestic product, was wired to foreign accounts illegally last year.


Rulers across the oil-rich Gulf Arab states have no obligations to publicly disclose personal wealth or other holdings such as businesses or investments, including many assets abroad in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. Some hints of their vast assets come from their travels — the UAE's president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan, owns an estate in the Seychelles and the Saudi royalty has palaces in Morocco — but a full accounting is impossible.

The Forbes magazine list of billionaires released last month includes only a few from Gulf ruling families, including none from hyper-rich Qatar, where rulers never publicly disclose personal information such as wealth.


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