There are many political scandals involving money, sex and misuse of power where the world leaders got caught red handed. We are living in an age where it is really hard to narrow down the massive number of the world’s biggest controversies, gaffes and scandals that left people disheartened.
Here are 15 incidents where the world-famous politicians had to face embarrassment, imprisonment, loss of credibility and job, and much more.
Sadly, the history of politics around the world is full of scandals and the problem is not just limited to a single country. Each generation of public servants who claimed to be the most honest people on earth, served us in a way where they were forced to leave their offices, sit in prison or apologize to the public. Some of them faced strict punishments, but some of them didn’t even care about making any public statement and even refused to say sorry to the public about their misuse of power and corruption.
We’ve rounded up the top fifteen political scandals where the world leaders got caught red handed. You may find some of them hilarious, but overall, these political scandals are the most disgusting things done by people who were and still are in power. Check out our selection of the scandals and share the ones we missed here.
15. Jean Chrétien
The former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien got caught spending sponsorship money on advertising. The government spent US$250 million at national events as part of its sponsorship program. Out of this money, US$100 million was given to several advertising agencies. The money was paid to people who were close to the government and the process of selection was also in question. When the investigation took place, some of the sponsorship funds were founded in the coffers of Jean’s own Liberal Party. Chretien in a statement said there’s no reason for him to apologize. “If somebody has stolen the money, they will face the courts. But I will not apologize to Canadians,” he said.
14. Hillary Clinton
The Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got caught red handed before the 2016 presidential campaign. Her use of a private email server put her under the FBI radar. Clinton used a private email server from her New York home, during her tenure as the Secretary of State (2009 to 2013). She admitted that using a private server was a mistake.
In July 2016, the FBI concluded that Hillary and her aides were “extremely careless,” while sharing classified documents. But the FBI said that Clinton should not face criminal charges for the email controversy. Wikileaks released some hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign leader’s account. Despite a lot of controversial remarks about the party, then-President Barack Obama supported Clinton and endorsed her campaign.
13. Mark Sanford
When the American politician suddenly went missing from public, his family and the State Law Enforcement Division came into action. Sanford’s disappearance got nationwide coverage and his absence led the Lieutenant Governor André Bauer to make a public announcement, saying that the situation can’t be taken lightly as even after four days, the staff and his family members don’t know where Sanford is.
Before his disappearance, Sanford told his staff that he will be hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Finally a female journalist saw him at Atlanta Airport and news about Sanford’s visit to his mistress started circulating on the internet. Sanford in hurry held a conference admitting to adultery.
12. Richard Nixon
On June 17, 1972, many burglars were arrested from the Watergate building in Washington D.C. where the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was located. The burglars had connection with President Richard Nixon and they were caught red handed while attempting to steal secret documents and wiretap phones.
After this break-in, Nixon arranged hundreds of thousands of dollars to be transferred to the burglars and misused presidential power by instructing CIA to disrupt the FBI’s investigation. Nixon struggled hard to hide the tapes and asked to keep the tapes as per the president’s executive privilege. Nixon in fact fired many officials who were causing trouble in the cover-up of the crime. But eventually, he agreed to surrender some of the tapes.
11. Ronald Reagan
The 40th President of the United States lost popularity by 21% in just a week after he got caught red handed in the Iran-Contra affair. First part of this story includes the selling of weapons to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. Secondly, this supply was a move to fund the Contra rebels who were fighting against the government in Nicaragua. The International Court of Justice ruled that the US had violated international law. The court also concluded that the United States breached treaties in Nicaragua.
A Lebanese newspaper exposed the activities and soon after all the criticism, Reagan denied that no such operation ever happened. After a week, he took his statement back and formed a committee known as the “Tower Commission” to investigate. Regan then played the victim card saying that he was unaware about what was going on.
10. Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton’s four-minute speech in 1998 in which he admitted to his affair with Monica Lewinsky cleared the air. But before admitting, Clinton kept mum on the issue for more than a half year.
During a conversation with Republican Linda Tripp, Lewinsky, who was an intern at the White House, revealed details about her connections with Clinton. Tripp illegally recorded the conversation and handed it over to a member of the Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr, who later brought everything to light.
The famous American political sex scandal led former President Bill Clinton to televise his speech and release a statement saying that he was in the “wrong” when he began a relationship with Lewinsky.
9. Rod Blagojevich
The former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich was arrested because of the charges of corruption. Federal agents arrested Blagojevich since he was found guilty of obtaining personal gain through the misuse of his authority to fill Barack Obama’s vacated senate seat. The wiretap recordings of Blagojevich’s conversations were found in which he was discussing how to get something in exchange for the allotment of the seat.
Blagojevich is in jail as he was convicted on several federal charges. The man reported to prison in March 2012 and will have to serve at least 85 percent of his 14-year imprisonment. If his behaviour remains good, he will probably come out in May 2024.
8. Eliot Spitzer
A report by New York Times on March 10, 2008 revealed that Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York patronized an escort service known as Emperors Club VIP. He also met with a call girl for two hours and spent US$1000.
The publication revealed that the information came from a federal wiretap and caught the attention of the authorities. Spitzer met with seven to eight women and paid over US$15,000. Several reports claim that the investigators found that Spitzer spent up to US$80,000 on prostitutes. He was actively involved in all of this when he was attorney general and as governor also.
7. James Traficant
The congressman from Ohio was thrown out of his office in July 2002 due to charges of corruption. He barely had any support and was sacked by a vote of 420 to 1. He was accused of taking campaign funds for his own use. After a two-month long federal trial, Traficant was convicted of 10 felony counts that include tax evasion, bribery and racketeering. He spent seven years in jail and came out on September 2, 2009. Around 1200 supporters gathered to welcome him. Traficant died in September 2014 in an accident that took place when he was driving a tractor in his barn. The tractor suddenly flipped over, killing the former congressman in the process.
6. Wilbur Mills
At 2 AM on October 9, 1974, Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives Wilbur Mills was found in a car sitting with a stripper known as Fanne Foxe. The car stopped in traffic and when police reached the car, the stripper ran away and jumped into a nearby reservoir. Mills was intoxicated, and as per the eyewitnesses, his face was injured as a result of a fight between him and the stripper Foxe.
Despite the scandal, he defeated Republican Judy Petty by 60% votes. After a month of the first incident, again drunk Mills, accompanied by Foxe’s husband, appeared onstage in Boston where Foxe was performing. Mills even held a press conference from the stripper’s dressing room that eventually made him step down from his position.
5. Silvio Berlusconi
The former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to seven years in jail, and a lifetime ban from public office was also put on him. In February 2011, he was charged with paying a minor for sex in a nightclub. Berlusconi was also charged with misuse of his political powers as he wanted to cover up his relationship with the girl.
Berlusconi was convicted of several other criminal activities including corruption, tax-fraud, control over media and sexual misconduct. He himself destroyed his career, but he never served time and the only punishment he got was community service. In 2012, Forbes listed him as Italy’s sixth richest man.
4. Moshe Katsav
The former President of Israel is another ugly face of corrupt power who was accused of several rape cases. As a result, he spent five years in prison out of the seven-year imprisonment given by the court. At first, the allegations of rape of one female assistant haunted Katsav and later several sexual harassment allegations led him to resign the presidency in 2007.
The Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority imposed parole restrictions on Katsav advising him to follow the terms of parole. As a part of the terms, he is not allowed to make any statements to the media, and he is also not allowed to leave the country. The authorities require him to attend rehabilitation and a weekly visit to psychologist till his seven-year sentence doesn’t get completed.
3. François Mitterrand
The former President of France, François Mitterrand got an anti-terror cell installed claiming that it was established in the service of the President of the Republic. The unusual set-up was actually used for wiretapping. Mitterrand was found guilty of illegal wiretapping of popular figures in France including journalists, TV personalities, and lawyers.
He also tried to keep his own relations with his mistress, with whom he had a daughter, a secret. Later it was revealed that as results of his other extra-marital affairs, Mitterrand also has a son with a Swedish journalist. The government awarded compensation to several people for the damage and breach of privacy. The European Court of Human Rights also said that the rights of the journalists were not respected.
2. Alain Juppé
The former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé received a 14-month sentence in 2014 and was not allowed to run for political office for one year. Juppé and former President Jacques Chirac were convicted of abuse of trust and diverting public funds. In the 90s, Juppé was paying party members to do fictional jobs in Paris. He resigned the mayoralty of Bordeaux after all the charges.
On this issue the court commented on how it is regrettable that when the legislative body was aware of the need to end crime in the financing of political parties, Juppé himself didn’t apply this to his own party.
1. Park Geun-hye
The 18th President of South Korea was impeached as a result of the charges of corruption and threat to national security. She was thrown out of her office on March 10, 2017. Her relationship with Choi Soon-sil was also in question during the investigation. Choi being the daughter of Park’s mentor, had no official government position, but she was allowed to access confidential documents for the president. Choi and Park’s senior staff used their powers to extort approximately US$75 million from Korean business conglomerates. The money was used to set up two sports and culture related foundations. After criticism, Park acknowledged her relationship with Choi in 2016 and soon after that she dismissed many officers from the top positions. She is the first female to be elected as the President of South Korea and is the third former president of the country to be arrested over criminal allegations.
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