By Daniel Bojin and Paul Radu, with contribution from Sweden by Michell Gronlund
In a courtroom in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, a telecommunications executive and his employer have been fighting a pitched battle to see who is dirtier. Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunication giant, claims Thomas Lundin, their former general manager in Romania, pilfered $7 million from them.
Lundin says the $7 million was part of a company-approved slush fund used to bribe Romanian officials and decision makers to get more business. The case raises questions about how Western businesses really work in Eastern Europe and comes at a time when Swedish prosecutors are looking at a similar case involving officials at Teliasonera who allegedly bribed Uzbek officials for a 3G license.
by Romana Puiuleț, Daniel Bojin, and Paul Radu
It’s now known as the horsemeat scandal – and it has consumers and policy makers unnerved. How could horsemeat get passed off as beef lasagna and hamburger meat in some of Europe’s largest super market chains? The scandal has raised questions about the safety and transparency of food networks.
By Stevan Dojčinović, Bojana Jovanović, Mahir Šahinović, and Christoph Zotter
(Read in local language / Čitati na lokalnom jeziku)
Ivica Toncev (left) is often seen at public appearances with Prime Minister Ivica Dacic (right)
Soon after Ivica Tončev, a low-profile businessman turned politician, moved from Austria to Serbia about five years ago, he quickly established himself as one of the more influential people in the country. Today he is an advisor for national security to the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić, President of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS).
But that doesn’t really reflect Tončev’s true power. Tončev is on the board that manages the finances of SPS – usually one of the most sensitive positions in Serbian politics. The position is often reserved for important insiders who can effectively manage the murky world of party financing.
By Eliza Ronalds-Hannon and Mujtaba Ali
As throngs travel to New Orleans to revel in the Super Bowl spectacle, law enforcement will be on the lookout for an anticipated spike in human trafficking. But some say their predictions are fundamentally flawed.
Bosnia-Herzegovina’s four separate prosecutorial jurisdictions and their overlapping criminal parameters have hampered the prosecution of human trafficking for as long as the nation has existed.
But after almost two years of work, an interagency, cross-jurisdictional task force crafted a series of amendments that would standardize the legal codes of BiH’s four jurisdictions, allowing them to better investigate and prosecute traffickers.
the USS Bulkeley, which has helped rescue several ships from pirate control. Photo by: Official U.S. Navy Imagery
By Eliza Ronalds-Hannon
After dominating news cycles and captivating fans of maritime drama for the past five years, it appears the Somali pirates' reign of terror may be over.
In 2012, seaborne hijackers captured only five vessels, compared to 47 in 2010 and 25 in 2011, which was a year that saw a record 176 attacks. "The numbers speak for themselves," said Timo Lange, Media Operations Officer for the EU Naval Force in Somalia, who said the decrease points to "the downfall of piracy."
It began last summer, he said, and was a result of efforts in both local and international enforcement, as well as elective changes adopted by the private shipping industry. The way they teamed up to solve this seemingly impossible problem will likely serve as a prototype for managing such threats in the future.
Daughter of the Uzbek President, Gulnara Karimova (left) and her assistant Gayane Avakyan at the Christian Dior Paris Fashion Week in 2012 Photo: Getty Images
When Swedish telecom giant TeliaSonera announced its expansion into Uzbekistan in 2007, the company seemed poised for massive success. It was in its 5th consecutive year of international deal-making, which meant breaking out of the narrow confines of the Scandinavian market and into the vast untapped markets of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Large and undeveloped, Uzbekistan promised years of lucrative growth, with first-year revenue alone projected to be $26 million.
But five years later, TeliaSonera is instead mired in scandal, and facing criminal investigation over that portentous deal. Swiss authorities are separately investigating related money laundering charges against their partners. Two senior executives are named suspects in a bribery case, and in Sweden and Switzerland bank accounts sit frozen, to be used as evidence in the cases.
Darko Saric and Rodoljub Radulovic were indicted for cooperating in drug smuggling.
A Montenegrin businessman charged last month in Serbia for his involvement in smuggling nearly two tons of cocaine. According to the indictment obtained by reporters for the Center for Investigative Reporting in Serbia (CINS) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Rodoljub Radulović was a member of a criminal group headed by Darko Šarić. Prosecutors say Radulović owned ships that were used to smuggle drugs from South America to Europe in food and other shipments including soybeans. Both Šarić and Radulović have since disappeared and Šarić is being sought for his role in the seizure of cocaine in a yacht off the Uruguayan coast in 2009.
The Vanilla nightclub was located in SPS party headquarters in Belgrade. Photo: OCCRP
Accused drug lords Darko and Duško Šarić likely owned the popular night club Vanilla’ in the central building of the Socialist Party of Serbia in the center of Belgrade.
By Stevan Dojčinović and Bojana Jovanović
A ruling party rented a nightclub in its headquarters to associates of drug lords Darko and Duško Šarić. The party official who signed the lease contract in 2005 told reporters he didn’t know the club may have been ultimately controlled by the brothers. Vanilla, a popular nightclub in the center of Belgrade, was for years the meeting point for Serbian celebrities, businessmen, athletes and the underworld.
A Colombian soldier looks around the interior of a captured handmade submarine in 2011. Photo: Time Magazine
By Eliza Ronalds-Hannon
One of the newest trends in cocaine smuggling gives new meaning to the term "undercover."
The latest version of "narco-subs" – or homemade sea vessels used to traffic drugs – have significantly improved on previous models, with impressive new engineering making them fully submersible under water for the first time. Authorities have tracked down several such subs in the jungles of Ecuador and Columbia, where they are constructed, and the confiscated models revealed just how much ingenuity, ambition, and money their architects possess.