Malaysia, soccer highlight corruption’s corrosive impact on democracy



The timing of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s White House visit seems especially questionable, considering that it will come just a month after the Justice Department announced that it was proceeding with a criminal probe into the matter even while suspending a series of civil lawsuits it had previously filed, notes Cynthia Gabriel,* founder of the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4). The Justice Department describes the 1MDB investigation as the “largest single action ever brought” under the Kleptocracy Recovery Initiative, created in 2010 to tackle high-level corruption around the world, she writes for The Washington Post.

Authoritarians and kleptocrats are also taking advantage of soccer’s culture of corruption and tarnishing the world’s most popular sport, Simon Kuper writes for the New York Review of Books, in a review of David Conn’s The Fall of the House of FIFA: The Multimillion-Dollar Corruption at the Heart of Global Soccer:

One reason why Western Europe, with just 5 percent of the world’s population, produced the last three world champions is that it’s the only region on earth where most children grow up with good soccer fields and coaches in their neighborhoods. Social democracy wins World Cups. Elsewhere, many senior soccer officials grew rich. They tended to see this as just rewards for being members of what Blatter called “the football family.” Most came from countries where this was how politics and business had always been done. RTWT


At a forthcoming National Endowment for Democracy forum, a distinguished panel of speakers will discuss the unique features of transnational kleptocracy and how it is impacting democracy in Africa, Asia, Europe, Eurasia, and beyond:

  • Oliver Bullough, Author of Let Our Fame Be Great and Last Man in Russia
  • Brett Carter, University of Southern California
  • Ambassador Daniel Fried, Atlantic Council
  • Cynthia Gabriel,* Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (right)

Moderated by Christopher Walker, Vice President, Studies and Analysis, National Endowment for Democracy

Monday, September 18, 2017

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004

Twitter: Follow @ThinkDemocracy and use #NEDEvents to join the conversation.


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