Says "No Agreement" With Sri Lanka, Meets in Hungary, Omits
Bulgaria, Angola and Chavez Questions
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 4, updated --
The International Monetary Fund's lack of
transparency is matched by its claims to be transparent. Take for
example the IMF's arrangement with Sri Lanka, where parliament has
been suspended and the state of emergency extended.
Inner City Press submitted three questions to the IMF's briefing.
Spokesman David Hawley did
not take any of the questions on camera.
Afterwards, and after complains, two of the three questions were
answered, but not the one on Sri Lanka: "With an IMF team in
Sri Lanka, what is the IMF's thinking on the EU's suspension of the
GSP Plus tariff treatment, and/or the arrest of opposition politician
March 4, Inner
City Press submitted five questions, some repeatedly. Spokesperson
Caroline Atkinson read out her own summary of the question, about the third
tranche of the IMF's loan, and then said that the IMF "mission
returned from Sri Lanka," we don't have an agreement, we don't
expect the third tranche to be released."
said, I understand we have more online questions, we'll wait for
technology. See transcript below.
that the delay is not technology related, but rather consists of IMF
staff screening and editing the questions that are submitted. Of
Inner City Press' four other questions, only one was mentioned by Ms.
Aktinson. Inner City Press had submitted, "In Hungary, why did
the IMF meet with opposition party Fidesz? What was discussed? Fidesz
says the discussions concerned the deficit, and if Fidesz comes to
power in the April elections -- is that true?"
only part of the question, then said that such meetings are
"common... an exchange of views." But the
said it had an agreement with the IMF. Shouldn't the IMF respond?
IMF's Strauss Kahn at bully pulpit, Bulgaria and
Angola answers not shown
submitted for the IMF's response this quote
last week from Hugo
Chavez: ""When Venezuela used to get financing, the IMF
would come here and impose conditions and rules, and sometimes it
would even dismantle our laws. But now, with China and Venezuela,
we're on equal footing." But they woudn't even acknowledge, much
less respond to, the request for a reaction.
Update: after the
expiration of the IMF's embargo and the publication of the above, an
IMF spokesperson replied, "I have nothing for you on this. However, I
can confirm that Venezuela and China are both members of the IMF. "
submitted questions were either not passed on to Ms. Atkinson, or
were omitted by her and she said there are no more questions:
is the IMF any closer to assigning a resident representative
to Luanda? What progress has Angola made to the transparency
discussed by the IMF, particularly in the oil sector?
Finance Minister Simeon Djankov says he's asked the IMF to inform him whether
Greek owned banks are "draining funds from
Bulgarian units" - can the IMF confirm the request, if so will
it respond in the 3 weeks given, and separately what does it think of
this "draining" issue?
Greece question, Inner City Press submitted repeatedly. But it was
Update: after the
briefing was over, an IMF spokesman wrote to Inner City Press that
"I’ve asked Olga to get back to you on this. Not familiar with this
request. We’re checking." Olga would seen to be Olga Stankova, Senior
Press Officer. Numerous publicly available article quote Bulgarian
officials about their request to the IMF.
Of those few
journalists present in person at the
IMF's briefing, many of the questions were about Greece:
be a meeting is DC? No.
questions about Iceland and
Ukraine, an expression of condolance for Chile, dodging on gold. Mr.
Strauss-Kahn will be in Kenya, with Bob Geldoff and Raila Odinga.,
then on to Zambia. What about Angola? Watch this site.
Later on Thursday, the following on Angola:
From: Thomson, Alistair at IMF
To: Inner City
Date: Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 5:15 PM
Thanks for your question on Angola. We are in the process of
considering possible candidates for the post of resident
representative. On your second question, fiscal transparency is a key
part of the authorities' economic program agreed with the Fund. A
mission is currently in the field to conduct the first review of the
will continue to
follow all this. Watch this site.
From the IMF's
Ms. Atkinson: I have a
about the IMF's third tranche to Sri Lanka due in March. I believe we
have announced that the mission's return from Sri Lanka that we don't
have an agreement with them so we don't expect that the third tranche
will be released at least until we have an agreement with them.I
understand there are more online questions so we have to wait for
I wanted to go to a
question that I'd
had online about Hungary. He was asking if there was significance in
the mission meeting with the opposition party when they were there. I
wanted to note that it's common practice that we will meet with —
and this has happened before — that we've met with the opposition
party, and of course there were no negotiations with people who were
not in the government, but an informal exchange of views.
* * *
Corruption of Citigroup and BofA, Obiangs Cite Obama, ExxonMobil's
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 15 -- Ten days after the release by the U.S. Senate
of a reporting on evasion by the son of Equatorial Guinea's President
for Life Teodoro Nguema
anti-money laundering controls by and at Citigroup, Bank of America,
Wachovia / Wells Fargo and others, the Obiang regime fired back,
calling the report racist and citing in its defense the election of
Inner City Press is putting the Obiangs' memo online, here.
exhaustively shows how Teodorin and his lawyers moved tens of
millions of dollars through Citibank and Wachovia (owned by Wells
Fargo since the financial meltdown), and used accounts at Bank of
America, City National and other banks. The report described how
over $100 million into the United States using wire transfer systems
at just two U.S. financial institutions, Wachovia Bank and Citibank.
Neither system had been programmed to detect or block wire transfers
bearing his name. In 2009... Citibank declined to take the same
action due to projections that identifying, freezing, and
investigating these wire transfers would generate too much work for
its anti-money laundering staff...From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Obiang used
accounts at three U.S. banks, Union Bank of California, Bank of
America, and Citibank, often with Mr. Berger’s assistance, to
deposit, transfer and spend nearly $10 million. Most of these funds
were wire transferred from accounts in Equatorial Guinea held in the
name of Mr. Obiang or two EG companies he controlled, Somagui
Forestal and Socage."
Government of Equatorial Guinea in a communique sent to the Press on
February 15, the President's Day holiday in the U.S., argues that
to Equatoguinean legislation, as occurs exactly in the most of the
world, the natural and legal persons, as occurs in this case with the
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, are perfectly authorized to do
business and maintain other types of jobs at the margin of their
"marginal" business includes a $30 million mansion in
Malibu, a jet and recording studio, among other things. Previously he
and his president for life father Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo moved
their money, like Pinochet, into the U.S. through Riggs Bank.
and its Fair Finance Watch dug into these connections, including to
Spain's Santander Bank and HSBC, when the Obiang disgraced Riggs was
being sold to PNC Bank. Click here for coverage
in Le Monde, in French.
Federal Reserve did little at that
time. With the major banks it regulates now implicated again in
corrupt money laundering, what will the supposedly chastened Federal
President for life Obiang, speaking at the UN, Citi
and BofA not shown
response complains at the Senate report deals only with African
corruption -- Angola with HSBC, Gabon's Omar Bongo with Citigroup,
Nigeria's Abubakar with Suntrust and the ubiquitous Citibank -- and
not any other continent. In this, it echoes the defenders of Sudan's
Omar al Bashir, that the International Criminal Court and its
prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo have so far indicted only African
Guinea goes further. Its cover email to Inner City Press argues that
"it can be considered as an authentic insult to Africa, and more
so after the people of the United States have voted in the majority
for a President of African origin."
letters, Equatorial Guinea screams that
Africa and in Equatorial Guinea we are tired of BEING TREATED FOR
CENTURIES LIKE INHUMAN BEASTS, ON WHICH ALL THE BRUTAL AND EVIL
BEHAVIOURS POSSIBLE ARE BLAMED. This is again so verifiable in this
case that even different media of the United States have written
these days, in regards to this case, THAT THE FAMILY OBIANG PRACTICES
ICC's and Ocampo's indictees, Jean Pierre Bemba the previous Vice
President of the Congo, argued during his campaign against Joseph
Kabila that, "I am not a cannibal!"
defense that's closest to the mark is that
also wish to put on the record that the United States is the country
from which comes the highest foreign investment in Equatorial Guinea,
which exceeds 12 billion USA dollars, and that no American
corporation has complained of fraudulent behaviour of the Government.
We also expect the Senate Subcommittee to be consistent with the
criteria of the North American companies."
should it be
the other way around? Major U.S. investors with the Obiangs include
ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Hess Corporation, and Noble Energy. We will
have more on all this.
* * *