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London-based Global Witness has just put out a good report on how some major international banks, including Citibank, “have been dealing with some of the world’s most corrupt regimes.” Gavin Hayman, the group’s Campaigns Director, said, “The same lax regulation that created the credit crunch has let some of the world’s biggest banks facilitate the looting of natural resource wealth from poor countries.”
Among the findings:
Barclays kept open an account for the son of the dictator of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea
long after clear evidence emerged that his family were heavily involved in substantial
looting of state oil revenues.
A British tax haven and a Hong Kong bank helped the son of the president of
Republic of Congo, another oil-rich African country, spend hundreds of thousands of
dollars of his country’s oil revenues on designer shopping sprees.
Citigroup facilitated the funding of two vicious civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia
by enabling the warlord Charles Taylor, now on trial for war crimes in the Hague, to
loot timber revenues.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Years of consideration preceding the inclusion of the word “phat” in Random House’s 1996 Compact Unabridged Dictionary:
Scientists created crash helmets that stink when cracked and fruit flies to whom blue light smells delicious.
In Belize, a construction company bulldozed a 2,300-year-old Mayan temple to make road fill.
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