Opinion: Qatar - a leader in fighting corruption?

Ali bin Fetais al-Marri, attorney general of Qatar, was elected last week to lead an international inter-governmental group dedicated to fighting corruption.

The International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) has 146 member-states, including France, South Africa, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Brazil and China, whose Attorney General Cao Jianming most recently served as IAACA president.

This means that, from a nation dogged itself by a high-profile international corruption scandal, if al-Marri was a curious choice, he was also a consistent one.

Transparency International ranked China 27 of 28 on its international “Bribe Payers Index.” It scored a woeful 36 out of 100 on the organization’s “Corruption Perceptions Index.”

Qatar scored 69. But just give it time.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed a 47-count indictment that alleged FIFA, the world’s most important soccer organization, was a “criminal enterprise,” run via $150 million of confirmed bribes and illegal kickbacks.

The DOJ said 30 officials at FIFA peddled media and marketing rights. They also allegedly sold the rights to be the host city -- including 2022’s much-anticipated World Cup event.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Swiss government officials are now investigating whether Qatari leaders paid up to lure the world’s biggest sporting event to Doha. There’s lots of smoke to suggest as much-- is there fire?

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said late last year that she hopes Qatar “would hopefully be cooperative” and answer their questions.

Transparency and openness over FIFA and the World Cup would be great for the tiny nation’s “Corruption Perceptions.” Color us skeptical that Qatari leaders like al-Marri feel the same.

Organizations in this Story

International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities U.S. Department of Justice

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