Ill-gotten gains : returning misappropriated assets to the spoiled populations should have been a priority for the 2019 G7, which aims to fight global inequalities

Paris, August 22, 2019 – From 24 to 26 August 2019, the G7 Summit will be held in Biarritz, in southwestern France. The G7 has made the fight against inequality this year’s fight. The G7 countries, which represent 40% of the world’s GDP, will thus look at ways to reduce inequalities in access to services such as education, health, housing, drinking water, etc.

Can these inequalities be effectively addressed if the issue of deprivation of developing countries’ resources through corruption and embezzlement of public funds is not raised at the national and international levels?

Every year, $20-40 billion, equivalent to 20 to 40 percent of total annual international development assistance, is stolen from developing countries. Indeed, the leaders of some of these countries are amassing considerable wealth by misappropriating their countries’ public funds and engaging in corrupt practices. They then investigate these illicit assets within the G7 member countries themselves, in bank accounts, luxury products, or even real estate, as revealed by the investigations of the Journal de Montréal Controversial Africans are investing heavily in real estate in Quebec.

The NGOs Sherpa, Transparency International France and the Coalition Biens Mal Acquis du Canada have initiated complaints in France and Canada against these leaders and their families. In October 2017, following one of these complaints, the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea and son of the President of Equatorial Guinea, Theodorin Obiang, was convicted in France. The court ordered the confiscation of its assets located on French territory, worth 150 million eurosThis historic decision, which has been appealed, raises the urgent question of the assets’ return to the spoiled populations, the first victims of corruption.

Following the adoption at first reading and almost unanimous adoption by the French Senate of a draft law allowing the French authorities to return assets resulting from corruption to the victims, in compliance with the principles of transparency, accountability, solidarity, integrity and efficiency, the French government launched a parliamentary mission to study the legislative and budgetary options that will make it possible to return the misappropriated assets.

However, the NGO Sherpa and the Coalition Biens Mal Acquis du Canada regret that the G7 of Biarritz did not address the issue of the return of misappropriated assets, thereby missing the opportunity to support the fight against corruption in the global fight against inequality and to include civil society in the spoiled countries.

Sherpa and the Coalition remind G7 countries of their international commitments to fight corruption and return assets, and invite G7 countries, which host a significant proportion of the world’s ill-gotten assets, to develop a legal framework for assets returns to ensure that returned funds will serve the public interest and not private interests once again.

 

Press Contact :

Clara Gonzales, Sherpa : +33 6 47 11 65 06 / presse@asso-sherpa.org