The other dirty secret on the banks' balance sheets

This page in:

On 28 May 2005, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, son of the president of Republic of Congo, went shopping in Paris. He spent €2,375 in Dolce & Gabbana, followed by €6,700 in Aubercy Bottier, a high-end bootmaker. Less than three weeks later, on 14 June, he was back: another €4,250 on shoes at Aubercy and €1,450 at a designer handbag shop. A month later, on 15 July, he burned another €2,000 at Aubercy, apparently his favourite shoe shop at the time.

According to a new report from the NGO Global Witness, Nguesso managed to pay for all of this using Congo's oil funds, along with some help from the Bank of East Asia and a front company in Anguilla. In Undue Diligence: How banks do business with corrupt regimes, Global Witness takes a close look at the dark underbelly of international finance, pointing fingers at giants like Barclays, HSBC, Citibank, and Deutsche Bank. All of these banks stand accused of helping venal politicians steal wealth from their citizens. Given that the idea of self-regulation of the financial industry is now in tatters, it is perhaps an opportune moment to push for greater transparency in the management of the natural resource wealth of the world's poorest countries. 


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000