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Spread of coronavirus fuels corruption in Latin America

Added 05-27-20 01:22:02am EST - “Even in a pandemic, there's no slowdown for swindlers in Latin America.” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “Spread of coronavirus fuels corruption in Latin America”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

From Argentina to Panama, a number of officials have been forced to resign as reports of fraudulent purchases of ventilators, masks and other medical supplies pile up. The thefts are driven by price-gouging from manufacturers and profiteering by politically connected middlemen who see the crisis as an opportunity for graft.

“Whenever there’s a dire situation, spending rules are relaxed and there’s always someone around looking to take advantage to make a profit,” said José Ugaz, a former Peruvian prosecutor who jailed former President Alberto Fujimori and was chairman of Transparency International from 2014-17.

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Coronavirus clusters are still spreading in Latin America, fueling a spike in deaths, swamping already-precarious hospitals and threatening to ravage slumping economies.

On Tuesday, police in Rio de Janeiro raided the governor’s residence as part of a widening probe into the alleged embezzlement of part of the $150 million in public funds earmarked for building field hospitals.

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