One year ago, the eyes of the world focused on Tunisia as its ruler, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, fled the country, allegedly with millions of dollars in gold and assets on his airplane. The government of Tunisia is now working with the international community to recover Ben Ali’s ill-gotten gains.
The process will be slow, complicated, and multijurisdictional, but it will lay down a marker for future dictators.
As Robert Zoellick said soon after he became president of the World Bank in 2007, “There should be no safe haven for those who steal from the poor.” That was when he launched the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) at the United Nations General Assembly.… Seguir leyendo »
When Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali abruptly fled Tunisia’s chaos,becoming an exile of a nation that he and his wife reportedly used as their personal cookie jar, it was deja vu all over again.
Amid rumors that Mr. Ben Ali fled along with 1.5 tons of gold (worth approximately $65 million), his escape seems eerily reminiscent of president-for-life Jean-Claude «Baby Doc» Duvalier’s escape from Haiti. According to reports, it appears that both leaders fled aboard aircraft filled with stolen loot from countries that had endured nearly two decades of corruption and nepotism under their regimes. In a mysterious turn of events and after 25 years in exile, Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Twenty-four years after Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier left a champagne-filled party at his presidential palace and boarded a chartered jet to flee Haiti, leaving a chaotic and economically scarred nation behind, a democratically elected government in Haiti now has a chance to recover millions of dollars of stolen assets.
That is because on Friday, the Swiss Parliament passed the “Return of Illicit Assets Act” (R.I.A.A.), an innovative legislative fix to a decades-old problem that, if implemented properly, may give added life to World Bank President Robert Zoellick’s assertion that “there should be no safe haven for those who steal from the poor.”
Taking over as “president-for-life” after his father’s death, Baby Doc Duvalier’s rule was characterized by greed and domestic neglect, resulting in a paralysis of national development.… Seguir leyendo »
When international donors meet at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 31 to continue discussions on rebuilding Haiti, it will present what former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani calls «an open moment» – a brief period in time that will determine a country’s future direction. Reconstructing roads and buildings is vital, but if Haiti is to use this moment to break away from the poverty, despair and environmental degradation that has plagued it for the past two centuries, it will have to do a lot more. In order to achieve lasting changes, Haiti must rebuild its decrepit government institutions with strong anti-corruption policies and a clean bureaucracy.… Seguir leyendo »