The European Parliament in session. Jean-Francois Badias/Associated Press

It’s like something out of a crime novel. On an early December morning last year, after months spent staking out residences and tapping phones, Belgian police officers raided dozens of places across Brussels. Over the course of the next three days, in apartments and hotel rooms and offices, they seized laptops, cellphones and approximately 1.5 million euros, or $1.6 million, in cash.

By the next week, four people had been arrested on charges of corruption, including two representatives, one former and one present, of the European Parliament. Antonio Panzeri, a retired parliamentarian from Italy, eventually admitted to being the scheme’s ringleader.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Johnson with customers in the beer garden during a visit to a pub on April 19, 2021.

According to reports, multiple parties where alcohol was served -- in breach of the government's own Covid restrictions -- took place in Whitehall during the pandemic. Most recently, Downing Street has admitted that up to 30 guests gathered to celebrate Boris Johnson's birthday on June 19, 2020, when almost all indoor gatherings of more than two people were banned.

In an attempt to defend his presence at a "bring your own booze" garden party held at No 10 -- his official residence -- in May 2020, Johnson told journalists that he'd thought he was at a "work event".

It's an insipid excuse -- and according to lawyers including Adam Wagner, a barrister and expert in Covid law, almost certainly legally indefensible.…  Seguir leyendo »

If British politics has become increasingly divided in recent years, there is perhaps one thing everyone can agree on: Boris Johnson certainly knows how to throw a party.

But as the official report was published into allegations of potentially illegal gatherings at 10 Downing Street during the height of the pandemic, when a strict national lockdown was rigorously enforced, it was clear the hangover was beginning to settle in.

Johnson may have hoped the heavily redacted report by senior civil servant Sue Gray would bring to heal the hounds yapping at his heels; if he did, it swiftly became apparent as he delivered a statement in the House of Commons on her findings on Monday that he was sorely mistaken.…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the House of Commons on Jan. 31. (Jessica Taylor/Uk Parliament/Handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Not for the first time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been unmasked and his true identity revealed: BoJo the Clown.

An official report released Monday confirms that while Britons were locked down under severe covid-19 restrictions, largely confined to their homes and prohibited from holding social gatherings, Johnson and his staff at 10 Downing Street were having alcohol-fueled parties. As far as Johnson is concerned, evidently, rules are for suckers.

“Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify”, said the report, compiled by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant.…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson Is Hanging by a Thread

Boris Johnson, Britain’s classics-loving prime minister, has long been fascinated by the fall of the Roman Empire. Now his government risks a fall of its own.

The decline in his fortunes has been swift and dramatic. For weeks, the news media heaved with accounts of lockdown breaches: There was a garden party, a birthday party, a staff goodbye party — Mr. Johnson at all of them. His approval ratings plummeted and apoplectic Conservative legislators threatened to oust him. Then the police got involved, opening an inquiry into whether the prime minister broke the laws he created.

On Monday, the challenge facing Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson Has Survived Many Scandals. This One Is Different.

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed British lawmakers in a febrile Parliament on Wednesday, he appeared to raise his eyes to the heavens for a split moment as if to seek rescue.

Was he praying for escape from the opposition lawmakers who loudly jeered what many considered to be his non-apology for attending a boozy party at Downing Street during the 2020 lockdown — after he repeatedly insisted over the past several months that he had broken no rules?

Or perhaps from the sullen members of his own political party whose view of the “Blond Bombshell” is fast transiting from electoral super-asset to toxic brand likely to lose them their seats?…  Seguir leyendo »

Hannah Brady pictured with her father Shaun who died in May 2020 after contracting Covid-19

On May 20, 2020, we registered my father's death from Covid-19. Remember that date. It turned out to be important.

His name was Shaun Brady. He was a proud factory worker at the Heinz Kraft plant in Wigan, in the North West of England. He was brilliant, honest and kind. He didn't think much of himself, but we thought the world of him, and he thought the world of us.

Dad was only 55. He loved cooking healthy food and went to the gym three or four times a week. But when the pandemic hit, he stuck to the lockdown rules.…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson Is in Trouble

During the Covid pandemic, we Britons have developed a tabloid obsession with “saving Christmas,” as if it were a beloved pet in danger of being run over.

Yet our Christmas is indeed in peril. The Omicron coronavirus variant, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said could lead to a “tidal wave” of cases, threatens to upend people’s best-laid festive plans. After last year, when the government imposed restrictions on household mixing on the cusp of Christmas, the possibility of yet another fractured Yuletide is close to retraumatizing the nation.

Ominously, the Christmas tree the Norwegians give us every year to stand in Trafalgar Square, in thanks for Britain’s help during World War II, is notably spindly and bare this winter.…  Seguir leyendo »

Alberto Fernández, presidente de Argentina, en marzo de 2020. Este año ha sido el centro de un escándalo llamado “Olivosgate”. Credit Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

La Argentina se siente en su salsa jugando con fuego. El ejemplo más reciente lo ofreció el presidente, Alberto Fernández.

Durante 2020, el presidente impuso algunas de las restricciones más severas del mundo para contener la COVID-19: los alumnos no fueron a las escuelas, no se podía salir a la calle —bajo pena de castigo— y mucho menos organizar reuniones sociales. Para muchos las restricciones resultaron casi imposibles; quedarse en casa sin trabajar los condenaba a no comer. Miles de comercios y empresas cerraron y la pobreza extrema aumentó del 35,5 al 42 por ciento, según datos oficiales. Y aún así, en buena medida, los argentinos cumplieron con las restricciones.…  Seguir leyendo »

El escándalo es una absoluta pesadilla en la política. Sobre la cabeza del ya ex gobernador de Nueva York Andrew Cuomo se ha desatado la tormenta perfecta. Un escándalo sexual, avalado por informes de su propia Fiscalía. La presión del ala izquierda del Partido Demócrata, con el apoyo del movimiento #MeToo. Y, sobre todo, la censura lanzada por el presidente Biden contra él. Todo ello ha sido decisorio para que dimitiera de su cargo. Digamos de pasada que es paradójico que Biden haya sido precisamente el detonante de la renuncia cuando él mismo hubo de sortear unos meses antes de la elección presidencial la declaración de ocho mujeres que le acusaron de ser objeto de actos inapropiados por su parte.…  Seguir leyendo »

Distintas publicaciones en Perú destacaron el escándalo de vacunaciones en sus primeras planas. Credit Ernesto Benavides/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

En América Latina estamos acostumbrados a vivir en una suerte de anomalía congénita. Sabemos que las cosas van mal y, casi por costumbre, nos preguntamos qué será lo próximo peor.

¿Una pandemia global haciendo estragos en España e Italia? Pues déjenla llegar a estas costas: he ahí Brasil o México. ¿Vacunas que van con lentitud? Oh, nada más esperen a que lleguen aquí: algún estropicio sucederá. La región ya era la más afectada por la pandemia —en buena medida por una respuesta torpe de nuestros líderes— y para cuando llegó el momento de dar certezas con la inmunización, el suministro de vacunas demostró ser insuficiente.…  Seguir leyendo »

First there was the secretive trip to the Bahamas in 2016 when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family rode in a helicopter owned by the Aga Khan, the billionaire and Ismaili Muslim spiritual leader whose organization has received hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian federal grants to advance its work overseas.

Then, some three years later, the Trudeau government was found to have pressured then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to spare SNC Lavalin, one of Canada's largest engineering companies, from prosecution for bribing Libyan officials in return for lucrative government contracts between 2001 and 2011.

After the Canadian ethics commissioner said Trudeau had violated federal conflict of interest rules, he said, "I assume responsibility for everything that happened in my office".…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, right, leaving Downing Street with Dominic Cummings, his most senior aide. Credit Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Anyone else would have been sacked for it.

Twelve days ago Britain’s media and social media erupted in indignation and incredulity. Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most senior aide, had been exposed for breaking the strict lockdown rules he helped to write, and which everyone else had endured for the previous two months.

“Stay at home and save lives,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the country. It was an incantation, an instruction not a request, backed up by the law and the police.

Britain shut down. Police patrols issued instant fines, sending second-home owners, day trippers and park sunbathers back home.…  Seguir leyendo »

When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting for his life last month, his chief adviser Dominic Cummings was dealing with his own Covid-related battle.

Now the circumstances of Cummings' case, and in particular how and where he chose to deal with it, pose a challenge to the health of the British government and may even threaten the UK's capacity to swiftly fight off the virus.

Johnson has proved staunch in his defense of his close ally since the latter was accused of breaking the UK's strict lockdown by driving 260 miles with his wife, who he admits was displaying some symptoms of coronavirus, and young son to be near his extended family.…  Seguir leyendo »

El rey Felipe VI de España se dirigió a la nación el 18 de marzo desde el Palacio de la Zarzuela. Credit Getty Images

El monarca que reinó España durante casi cuatro décadas recibió cien millones de dólares de Arabia Saudí, los ocultó en paraísos fiscales y entregó una parte a su amante, según la justicia suiza. Pero el cuento con final infeliz de Juan Carlos I, con su mezcla de traiciones amorosas, espionaje y supuestas comisiones, no quedaría completo sin el drama familiar: su hijo y actual rey, Felipe VI, lo ha repudiado públicamente al renunciar a una herencia manchada por la sospecha.

El rey reconoce en el comunicado que difundió el domingo que conocía la existencia de esa fortuna desde hacía un año.…  Seguir leyendo »

Benjamin Griveaux ended his Paris mayoral campaign last month after a sex tape became public, a decision that left some French people puzzled. Credit Lionel Bonaventure/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Like everyone else in France, when I heard that Benjamin Griveaux was quitting the Paris mayor’s race because someone released his sex tape online, I immediately searched for the tape.

When I couldn’t find it, a friend warily agreed to send me a link. It was a video selfie of a man masturbating. You could hear him breathing but you couldn’t see his face.

I watched it, then wrote back, “I understand why people have sex in the dark”.

But what I didn’t understand, at first, was why Mr. Griveaux had dropped out of the mayoral race — whose first round is March 15.…  Seguir leyendo »

1. Señor Ábalos, ¿qué hacía usted la madrugada del pasado lunes en el avión de negocios de la vicepresidenta de la dictadura socialista venezolana Delcy Rodríguez?

2. ¿Por qué se han dado hasta cinco versiones distintas de lo que ocurrió esa noche, todas ellas incompatibles entre sí?

3. Señor Ábalos, usted ha cambiado su versión de los hechos varias veces. Es decir, ha mentido a los españoles en repetidas ocasiones durante las últimas 72 horas. ¿Por qué deberíamos creer entonces su última versión de los hechos?

4. A la señora Rodríguez se la acusa de graves delitos contra la democracia y los derechos humanos.…  Seguir leyendo »

In 2006, Prince Andrew invited Jeffrey Epstein to the 18th birthday party of his daughter Beatrice. Andrew didn't know, he claims, that an arrest warrant had been issued for Epstein earlier that year for sexual assault of a minor -- because Epstein had never mentioned it to him. (Even though the British royal family have numerous staff who vet guests.)

It hadn't been reported in the British press. How was a Prince to know?

That is just one of the excuses Prince Andrew offered the British people on Saturday night. In an extraordinary BBC TV interview recorded on Thursday, the Queen of England's second-born son attempted to defend his relationship with the convicted sex abuser.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sérgio Moro, ministro de Justicia y Seguridad Pública de Brasil, el 11 de junio de 2019. Credit Adriano Machado/Reuters

Sérgio Moro se había convertido en el símbolo definitivo de la justicia brasileña. Fue el juez que dirigió la operación Lava Jato, la investigación judicial que reveló una red de corrupción sistémica entre empresarios y políticos. La investigación ha condenado a 159 personas y tuvo repercusiones en casi toda la región: seis expresidentes latinoamericanos han sido condenados por casos de corrupción, entre ellos el expresidente brasileño Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

La operación Lava Jato rompió un pacto de silencio entre políticos corruptos y corruptores y aceleró un proceso de renovación política en Brasil. La velocidad y destreza de la investigación —además de los 3000 millones de dólares recuperados— convenció a buena parte de los brasileños de que iniciaba una nueva era de rendición de cuentas y que los tiempos de impunidad habían terminado.…  Seguir leyendo »

De la indignación al chapoteo

Lo que era ilusión en los inicios de la Transición tuvo su particular ocaso, que se dio en llamar desencanto. La vibrante y limpia indignación del 15-M parece estar derivando hacia su específica y propia forma de ocaso, todavía pendiente de denominación. En ambos casos, fue el aterrizaje en la realidad, esto es, el acceso (o el regreso) al poder, el que terminó por generar en amplios sectores de la izquierda una intensa sensación de decepción, al ver incumplidas, cuando no traicionadas (recuérdese el caso de la OTAN con Felipe González recién llegado al Gobierno de la nación), buena parte de sus expectativas.…  Seguir leyendo »