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Transparency International (TI) today opened the voting phase of its Unmask the Corrupt campaign to highlight the most symbolic cases of grand corruption.

Grand corruption is the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society. It often goes unpunished. It concerns millions of victims around the world.

“Please join us in this new effort to stop grand corruption and vote for the case that you think would best describe it,” said TI chairperson José Ugaz. “Your vote is important. Together we can make governments understand the urgency to act and stop this disease.”

The cases identified on were picked from 383 submissions from the public. Some are political leaders or multi-national companies that have massively abused their power and severely harmed society. Others, like the state of Delaware, serve as powerful symbols of how the corrupt are able to use anonymous companies to buy luxury yachts or real estate, or pay for lawyers to protect them.

“For far too long the corrupt have gotten away with their systematic abuses of power, terrible human rights violations and the general destruction of the daily lives of people. This ability to act with impunity must stop. Once we have identified the world’s greatest symbols of grand corruption, we will pursue social and legal sanctions for their deeds against the people, especially the poorest,” said Ugaz.

Vote for your worst case of grand corruption

People can choose from the 15 cases listed below and vote at The cases were selected by a panel of experts, using a number of criteria including the use of beneficial ownership or anonymous companies, human rights abuses, and the scale of corruption involved.

Voting is now open and closes on 9 February 2016. TI will then look at the cases that have received the most votes and will openly discuss with all how the corrupt should be punished.

“We want as many people as possible to engage in fighting corruption and we will help focus these efforts by showing what needs to be done by governments and individuals. We are calling on everyone to be part of the fight to end grand corruption and bring the corrupt to justice,” said Ugaz.

Here’s the list of cases (in alphabetical order) that symbolise grand corruption:

  • Banco Espírito Santo of Portugal
  • Senator Felix Bautista of the Dominican Republic
  • Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali, former President of Tunisia
  • China Communications Construction Company
  • Delaware, US state that allows registration of anonymous companies
  • Isabel Dos Santos of Angola
  • FIFA
  • Akhmad Kadyrov Foundation of Chechnya
  • Systemic corruption of the government, authorities and institutions in Lebanon
  • Ricardo Martinelli, former president of Panama, and his cronies
  • Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak
  • Myanmar jade trade
  • Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea
  • Petrobras
  • Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych