The Fighting Trans-Border Corruption Group of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum unites experts in the anti-corruption field and investigative journalists from Russia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and the UK. The efforts of the group are focused on exposing and publicising international corruption fraud as well as researching the impact of corruption on the environment, human rights, and politics. Furthermore, another aim of the group is dissemination of the information about the transborder corruption cases.
In the EU, the cross-border corruption has long been a subject to independent expert research and media coverage. The number of anti-corruption conventions and relevant legislation in the EU member states adopted on the European level (PACE, the EU, etc.) are the direct results of the joint efforts of the general public, experts, media, and the competent authorities. As a rule, countering trans-border corruption in the EU includes measures to counter money-laundering, investigation of local corporations’ involvement in foreign projects as well as finding out the origin of the non-transparent capitals in the EU, etc.
The trans-border corruption practices in Russia have raised awareness of the wider community of international and Russian researchers only in the past few years. The example of such practices, which have been investigated by the Group experts, is the Khimki Forest case. The implementation of a non-transparent investment building project in that region damages the environment and violates the human rights and the rights of the local community. VINCI, a French construction company, was involved in the concession, which has been developing this area. In summer 2014, the EU and the French authorities started an investigation into VINCI’s activities in Russia, which was, however, shortly suspended.
Another similar project is the exploitation of the Khoper River delta with the aim to construct a copper-nickel mine there. A large number of European companies took part in the project. The investigation revealed violations of the subsoil law, human rights, and the rights of local community as well as cases of money-laundering, in which European companies were involved.
Using the examples of those two pilot projects, the Fighting Trans-Border Corruption Expert Group hopes to raise awareness of such projects and stop the practices of trans-border corruption cases, in which transnational companies are involved. The group pursues its efforts to draw attention of international organisations to such cases, to reduce corruption in Russia and Europe as well as to improve the situation with human rights and the environment.