A notorious senator in the Dominican Republic is leading the pack in an international campaign that seeks to highlight the most egregious corruption cases around the world.
Senator Felix Bautista has received more than 3,640 votes as part of Transparency International’s Unmask the Corrupt campaign – beating out the bribery and kickback Petrobras controversy in Brazil and even the extensive investigation of FIFA.
Money laundering, abuse of power, prevarication and illicit enrichment amounting to millions of dollars -- Bautista of the Dominican Republic has been accused of them all,” the campaign’s website says.
Bautista began his political career in the 1990s in various government positions, ultimately rising to the head of the Office of Supervision Engineers of Public Works, a position he held until 2010.
In a case that was referred to the country’s Supreme Court in October, Bautista allegedly established a network of more than 35 companies under his control that he used to gain access to public contracts awarded by the public works office he headed at the time.
While the Dominican Republic’s Public Prosecutor’s investigation had extensive evidence – including tax declarations, bank statements and more – against Bautista and his associates, the case was dismissed in March due to “lack of sufficient evidence.”
The judge on the Supreme Court who dismissed it was a member of the same political party as Bautista.
An appeal in October was also dismissed and Bautista remains free.
Unmask the Corrupt had more than 380 submissions from the public about corruption cases from around the world that have “massively abused… and severely harmed society.” Fifteen where chosen.
“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,” said Transparency International chair Joe Ugaz in a statement. “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.”
Along with Bautista, Petrobras and FIFA, other cases that stood out among the entries included the state of Delaware, the former president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak, and Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych.