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French Report on Stolen Assets from Developing Countries Cites Raymond Baker, GFI

June 25th, 2009

GFI Cited in French Study of Corruption, Developing Countries
Global Financial Integrity, June 25, 2009

The French non-profit organization, Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD), released a new report Wednesday on government corruption and stolen assets from developing countries.  The report, “Biens mal acquis” or “Ill-Gotten Gains” extensively cites the work of Global Financial Integrity (GFI) and its director, Raymond Baker, on illicit financial flows and their impact on developing countries.

The report presents a very precise inventory of the assets stolen by 30 heads of state during the past 50 years; ranging from such notorious figures as Saddam Hussein to Ferdinand Marcos.  The report updates an earlier edition released in 2007.  The 2007 CCFD report was used extensively in a famous 2007 judicial case brought by Transparency International and several French NGOs against three African heads of states’ accused of hiding assets in France.

The report’s recommendations to the French government and the European Union closely echo much of GFIs own program. These recommendations include the dismantling of all fiscal judicial havens and the obligation of judicial cooperation, the creation of a strong European judicial system regarding financial matters and a modification of international accounting norms in order to obtain country by country reporting from every multinational corporation.

The CCFD was launched in 1961 in response to the call of Pope John XXIII call to fight against famine. Today, the CCFD tries to achieve this same goal through education and development. It relies on 170 staff members and 15000 volunteers spread in 99 diocesan committees.

Omar Bongo’s death last week offers a unique opportunity for a new beginning in the relations between France and Africa. The post-colonial scheme “France-Afrique” should be completely dismantled in favor of a serious and responsible relationship. As a first step, the French government should demonstrate its commitment by freezing all dubious foreign assets on its land until corrupted and authoritarian heads of state justify, in front of a French court, the licit origin of their fortune.

Read the translated version of the report summary (Unofficial)

Full report (French)

Written by David Chalude

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