18 Dec 2010

Sudan's Bashir 'stashed $9bn in UK'

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, has transferred up to $9bn out of the African nation, with much of it sent to banks in the United Kingdom, according to leaked US diplomatic cables reported in the Guardian newspaper.
A US diplomatic cable released by the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website on Saturday details a conversation between Alejandro D. Wolff, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, and Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

During a meeting in March 2009, Moreno-Ocampo is quoted as saying that the disclosure of the alleged "illegal accounts" could help garner support for al-Bashir's arrest. 
"Ocampo suggested if Bashir's stash of money were disclosed [he put the figure at $9bn], it would change Sudanese public opinion from him being a 'crusader' to that of a thief," the cable says.

"Ocampo suggested exposing Bashir had illegal accounts would be enough to turn the Sudanese against him."
Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world with an estimated 40 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, despite being a sizable exporter of oil.

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