Monday, December 10, 2007

Vulture capitalists expose third world corruption

NY Times reports on the fight between vulture capitalists, who buy third world debt for pennies on the dollar, and then sue in US courts to recover; and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund who criticize the vultures for
...forcing poor countries to fend off costly lawsuits rather than build classrooms and clinics.

But in the Congo Republic, where a deep-seated culture of graft has squandered so much of the nation’s wealth, those investors have become unexpected allies of anticorruption campaigners, who say such lawsuits may be the only way of holding the country accountable for how it spends its money....

The litigation has ... exposed the free-spending habits of government officials. According to hotel bills, the country’s president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, paid $8,500 a night for a triplex suite at the New York Palace Hotel during a visit to the United Nations in 2005. His hotel bills in the United States in 2005 and 2006 added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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