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Press Release:

Plundering politicians and bribing multinationals undermine economic development, says TI

Transparency International's new Global Corruption Report 2004 charts the flow of stolen assets, recommends ways to recover money looted by despots, and sets out new Standards on Political Finance and Favours

London, 25 March 2004


Political corruption undermines the hopes for prosperity and stability of developing countries, and damages the global economy," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), launching the TI Global Corruption Report 2004 (GCR 2004 ) today. "The abuse of political power for private gain deprives the most needy of vital public services, creating a level of despair that breeds conflict and violence. It also hits the pockets of taxpayers and shareholders worldwide. The problem must be tackled at the national and international level," he said.

"The GCR 2004 , with a special focus on political corruption," said Eigen, "is a call to action to bring integrity and accountability into governance, to stop bribery by multinational companies, and to curb the flow of stolen assets into secret bank accounts in the west." TI is the leading international non-governmental organisation combating corruption worldwide.

"Democracies can no longer tolerate bribery, fraud and dishonesty," states former US President Jimmy Carter in a foreword to the GCR 2004 , "especially as such practices disproportionately hurt the poor."

The GCR 2004 details funds allegedly embezzled by political leaders of the past two decades. During his misrule, Mohamed Suharto, President of Indonesia from 1967-98, is alleged to have stolen US$15-US$35 billion in a country where the GDP per capita hovers at around US$700. Suharto tops the table of corrupt politicians.


Where did the money go? - The top 10

Head of government
Estimates of funds allegedly embezzled
GDP per capita (2001)
1. Mohamed Suharto President of Indonesia, 1967-98 US$ 15 to 35 billion
US$ 695
2. Ferdinand Marcos President of the Philippines, 1972-86 US$ 5 to 10 billion
US$ 912
3. Mobutu Sese Seko President of Zaire, 1965-97 US$ 5 billion
US$ 99
4. Sani Abacha President of Nigeria, 1993-98 US$ 2 to 5 billion
US$ 319
5. Slobodan Milosevic President of Serbia/Yugoslavia, 1989-2000 US$ 1 billion
6. Jean-Claude Duvalier President of Haiti, 1971-86 US$ 300 to 800 million
US$ 460
7. Alberto Fujimori President of Peru, 1990-2000 US$ 600 million
US$ 2,051
8. Pavlo Lazarenko Prime Minister of Ukraine, 1996-97 US$ 114 to 200 million
US$ 766
9. Arnoldo Alemán President of Nicaragua, 1997-2002 US$ 100 million
US$ 490
10. Joseph Estrada President of the Philippines, 1998-2001 US$ 78 to 80 million
US$ 912


Transparency International Standards on Political Finance and Favours

1. Donations to political parties and candidates to elected office must not be a means to gain personal or policy favours. Parties and candidates must practise transparency. Governments must implement adequate conflict-of-interest legislation.

2. Political parties, candidates and politicians should disclose detailed information about assets, donations, in-kind donations, loans and expenditure, on an annual basis as well as before and after elections, to an independent agency.

3. Independent public oversight bodies endowed with the necessary resources must effectively supervise the observance of regulatory laws and measures. Together with independent courts, they must ensure that offenders are held accountable and duly sanctioned.

4. Diversified funding should be sought through: state funding and subsidised access to the media; the encouragement of small donations and membership fees; and controls on corporate, foreign and large individual donations. Spending limits should be considered.

5. Candidates and parties must be given fair access to the media. The media should play an independent role, free from political interference, both in election campaigns and in the broader political process.

6. Civil society should have the opportunity to actively participate in promoting adequate legislation in the field of political finance and in the monitoring of political finance and its impact on political representation.

The full text of the TI Standards is available in the TI Global Corruption Report 2004


The TI GCR 2004 can be downloaded free at Alternatively it may be ordered (price $24.95/ £15.99) through online booksellers, local bookshops (ISBN 0 7453 2230 1) or the publisher (



Related Documents in english to this Press Release:

Statement by Peter Eigen
click here for GCR highlights
click here for GCR highlights




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