Influence peddling

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Influence peddling is the illegal practice of using one's influence in government or connections with persons in authority to obtain favours or preferential treatment for another, usually in return for payment. Also called traffic of influence or trading in influence. In fact, influence peddling is not necessarily illegal as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has often used the term "undue influence peddling" to refer to illegal acts of lobbying. [1] However, influence peddling bears the stench of corruption that may de-legitimise democratic politics with the general public.

Known cases[edit]

  • In 2012 the vice president of Argentina Amado Boudou was accused of being a mere straw owner of the printing house Ciccone Calcográfica, a private company that has contracts to print over 120 million new Argentine pesos banknotes, license plates, and other government issues. The contracts were awarded by Boudou himself when he was the Economy Minister of Argentina.[1]
  • In April 2009, former Newfoundland politician Ed Byrne was convicted of influence peddling for his actions in the Constituency Allowance Scandal. He was the first of four politicians convicted in relation to the Scandal and the remaining politicians are on or awaiting trial.
  • As of December 2008, the Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich was accused of influence peddling in attempting to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.[2]
  • Additionally, the mayor of Ottawa, Larry O'Brien, began his trial on similar grounds in May 2009. O'Brien was accused of purported influence peddling. On August 5, 2009, both charges were dismissed by Justice Douglas Cunningham, associate chief justice of Ontario’s Superior Court.[3]

This crime is punished in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Great Britain and Romania.[4]

  • Nira Radia, an Indian woman still under investigation for using her connections with Indian politicians and members of the Indian media to tilt the auction of multi-million dollar licence contracts in favour of certain companies and individuals.
  • As of July 1, 2014, France ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy is being investigated due to alleged influence peddling.
  • In April 2015 the Public Ministry of Brazil opened an investigation for influence peddling against the ex-president Lula. The allegations are that between 2011 and 2014 he lobbied for Odebrecht company to gain public procurements in foreign countries while also getting BNDES to finance those projects. Countries where this allegedly took place include Ghana, Angola, Cuba, and Dominican Republic.[5]


  1. ^ El caso de la ex imprenta Ciccone (Spanish)
  2. ^ Hornick, Ed; Kristi Keck; Brianna Keilar (December 31, 2008). "Senate Democrats hope stalling can block Blagojevich's pick". CNN. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  3. ^ Butler, Don (August 6, 2009). "The Mayor Returns". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Semeraro, P. (2000). I delitti di millantato credito e traffico di influenza [The offenses of false claims and traffic of influence] (in Italian). Milan: Giuffrè. ISBN 8814083029.
  5. ^ As suspeitas de tráfico de influência internacional sobre o ex-presidente Lula: O Ministério Público Federal abre uma investigação contra o petista – ele é suspeito de ajudar a Odebrecht em contratos bilionários, 30/04/2015 - Updated 08/05/2015

P.Semeraro, Trading in influence and Lobbying in the Spanish criminal Code pag. 297.

See also[edit]