Since the financial crisis, a number of political scandals were fueled by allegations of corruption and fraud. Following recent events surrounding South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Israel’s Prime Minister Jacob Netanyahu, we decided to compile those cases of corruption that have had or may have the most systemic consequences in democratic polities since the Great Recession.
- Brazil’s Operation Car Wash
Where to begin? Brazil’s Operation Car Wash corruption investigation has been pivotal at dismantling an entire political class. Whether left or right, the parliamentary apparatus of the Brazilian state has been effectively decomposed in the light of a seemingly endless corruption investigation, leaving it exposed to voices that would previously have been ignored – for better or for worse. Never before has a corruption scandal been so politically devastating.
- The Netanyahu Scandal
If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is anything, he is no doubt provocative. Riding a remarkable career built on service and dedication to Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu has developed a reputation built on conservatism and militaristic pride. However, recent investigations carried out by Israeli police have tarnished this carefully constructed image. The entire network around Netanyahu has become consumed by the investigation. The allegations range from accepting cash, threatening reporters and police officers, and attempting to bribe judges. The last was an attempt by one of Netanyahu’s aids to push a judge to dropping criminal investigations against his wife in exchange for the attorney general position.
- The Fall of Jacob Zuma
Under enough heat and pressure, even the so-called “Teflon” President can crack. Although his political track record is impressive. He was imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela at Robben Island in 1963, then forced into exile upon his release ten years later. He then continued to be involved in the ANC underground through its legalization and parliamentary victories. But on February 14th, even this teflon-coated reputation couldn’t stand up against a series of allegations that run from money laundering to arms deals.
- Victor Yanukovych and the Ukrainian Crisis
When former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych thought it would be a good idea to end negotiations to join the EU in November of 2013, he probably didn’t think it would end in him abandoning the Ukraine. Especially with a house like this one. While Yanukovych was ousted by popular power rather than a government investigation, the resulting discovery of his ties to the Russian state and its oligarchs made the faultlines of corruption quite clear. To this day, the executive branch of Ukraine is mired by corruption allegations.
- The DC-Moscow Connection
Speaking of Russia, the on-going investigation surrounding President Trump’s possible ties with the Russian government may not be verified, but for large swaths of the media, they might as well be. No doubt, Trump (and the allegations that surround him) have captured the media apparatus of the United States, such that he received three times the amount of coverage previous presidents received, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. The Mueller investigation has brought indictments thus far on 21 individuals or entities, causing an uproar unseen since Nixon.