Does a Dead Kazakh KGB Chief Own Sherlock’s House? – The Daily Beast

From Michael Weiss:

…..“These wealthy oligarchs all come to London because it’s a really good place to put your money,” Simon Farrell QC, a British attorney who specializes in corporate crime and money laundering, told The Daily Beast. “It’s a fantastic place to hold property because it’s a secure democracy where the rule of law is taken seriously, where the judiciary is not corrupt and where you can trust the legal profession. In many parts of the world the super-rich can’t be sure that their assets will be safe.”

Indeed, London has now earned the unflattering designation of the world’s No. 1 money-laundering capital, with an estimated $1 billion pouring in each month…..A stunning £122 billion in real estate in England and Wales is held be companies registered outside England and Wales, according to Global Witness….

Read more at Does a Dead Kazakh KGB Chief Own Sherlock’s House? – The Daily Beast.

For Chinese Power Game, a Changing Equation

From Sebastian Veg, Research Professor at the School of Advanced Studies in Social Science in Paris:

By shaking up the unwritten rules that have prevailed since Deng Xiaoping consolidated power, Xi is taking a political risk. In exchange for the immunity that PBSC members were granted, they were expected to retire at the end of their term, and to remain loyal to collective decisions. If immunity is denied, both of these tenets may begin to be questioned. Why should powerful leaders retire if they can then be targeted? Why should they accept decision by consensus if they can later be made to pay the consequences as is alleged in Zhou’s case with the vote on Bo? They may be better off spending their terms gathering compromising material on other colleagues. Xi no doubt understands the risk, and believes it must be taken because the Party’s legitimacy is in danger. However, by disturbing the carefully crafted institutional balance, he runs the risk of overplaying his hand.

Read more at For Chinese Power Game, a Changing Equation.

An ex-ambassador in Beijing: Master of ping-ping diplomacy | The Economist

“Here we know there’s a reason why someone’s pinged for corruption or someone’s not pinged for corruption and usually there’s something sits behind it, so when there’s an anti-corruption campaign in Guangdong or Shenzhen, then it’s a fair bet that that’s somehow tied to elite politics, because why ping Person A and not B? And I think that is the context in which law is practiced here,” [Geoff Raby, who from 2007 until this summer served as Australian ambassador to China] said. “There is rule by law here…But there’s no rule of law. There’s nothing that sits above the political processes of the [top leadership].”

…….“We have never seen in world history, with Nazi Germany perhaps to one side, a global economic power that has stood so far apart from the international norms of social and political organisation, so it’s something different. It really, really is different,” Mr Raby said. He later assured me that when he uses this line in speeches, he throws in a mention of Nazi Germany to pre-empt the nitpickers of history, not as a point of comparison to China. That would be rather undiplomatic indeed.

via An ex-ambassador in Beijing: Master of ping-ping diplomacy | The Economist.

China’s ‘Princelings’ Pose Issue for Party –

The offspring of party leaders, often called “princelings,” are becoming more conspicuous, through both their expanding business interests and their evident appetite for luxury, at a time when public anger is rising over reports of official corruption and abuse of power.

State-controlled media portray China’s leaders as living by the austere Communist values they publicly espouse. But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.

via China’s ‘Princelings’ Pose Issue for Party –