Former Scorpions boss lands big job monitoring Russian telecoms firm

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Leonard McCarthy Picture: Getty Images
Leonard McCarthy Picture: Getty Images

The former Scorpions head, Leonard McCarthy, has been selected for a top job monitoring a leading Russian telecoms company.

Leonard McCarthy, the former integrity vice president at the World Bank, has been selected as the monitor for Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) as part of the Russian telecoms company’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement.

MTS, Russia’s leading telecommunications operator and digital services provider, paid $850 million (about R13 billion) and agreed to a three-year monitorship in March to settle charges brought by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission that it bribed officials in Uzbekistan in return for access to the country’s telecoms market.

MTS is the first Russia-based company to settle an Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case.

McCarthy was appointed to head up the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) in April 2003.

The agency, which investigated and prosecuted organised crime and corruption, was officially disbanded in late January 2009.

In June 2008, McCarthy was appointed to the World Bank, where he investigated allegations of fraud and corruption in projects funded by the bank. He left the World Bank in 2017 to run his own compliance firm, LFMcCarthy Associates, in Washington DC.

While he led the World Bank’s anti-corruption enforcement arm as integrity vice-president between 2008 and 2017, McCarthy oversaw a monitorship programme there.

During his tenure as Scorpions head, he was accused of being involved in a “political conspiracy” against President Jacob Zuma due to the timing of corruption charges against the president.

His name is mentioned in the so-called spy tapes, which intercepted conversations between McCarthy and Advocate Bulelani Ngcuka, former head of the National Prosecuting Authority.

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