Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GFI: Further Steps Needed in Crackdown

Following the excellent statement of Senator Levin on the US-UBS-Switzerland deal, Global Financial Integrity has prepared its own statement. Click here.

Levin and others are also well aware of, and campaign against, the open doors that the U.S. shows to dirty money from around the world. Two recent stories about super-wealthy Teodoro Nguema Obiang (Teodorín) of Equatorial Guinea (whom this blogger, as it happens, met in person at one of his homesteads in Bata) are worth reading, from this point of view. The first, from Ken Silverstein of Harper's magazine - the journalist who properly broke open the Equatorial Guinea-US connection for a worldwide audience - is worth reading. It cites former Senate Counsel Jack Blum, chair of TJN-USA, as asking why the US isn't plugging this particular inflow of dirty money:

“The least they could do is cut off his shopping privileges by denying him entry into the United States,” he said. “Where the hell is the U.S. government?”

For connoisseurs of Equatorial Guinea, the New York Times followed Silverstein's article with this:

"federal law enforcement officials believe that “most if not all” of his wealth comes from corruption related to the extensive oil and gas reserves"

And Global Witness has produced a new report on Equatorial Guinea, here. And, in a separate but related U.S. matter that hints at why the U.S. continues to hold its doors open to dirty money, there is also this:

"While Congress has debated legislation to reform Wall Street, the financial services industry has showered members of the Senate and House banking committees with about two and a half times as much money, on average, as other members of Congress, according to a new Public Citizen report."


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