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Congo Hold-up Exposes how Private Interests Captured and Abused DRC’s Resources

The largest leak of financial documents from Africa shows how a private bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo was used to channel at least $138 million of public funds to former President Joseph Kabila’s family and associates. The Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa, a Paris-based anti-corruption group known as Pplaaf, and France’s Mediapart obtained over 3.5 million documents covering nearly a decade of transactions at Groupe BGFIBank SA, who has a troubled history of sheltering corrupt deals involving African autocrats and European companies, facilitated fraudulent schemes for businessmen, politicians, alleged Hezbollah financiers and others. A consortium of non-governmental organizations and media outlets coordinated by the European Investigative Collaborations network spent more than six months analyzing the information. The Congo Hold-up leak is composed of millions of bank statements, emails, contracts, bills and corporate records. The documents also include details of millions of banking transactions. According to The Sentry, evidence shows that the Chinese owners of copper and cobalt mines used BGFIBank to funnel millions of dollars to individuals and companies directly linked to Kabila’s family. These schemes were allowed by the negligence and the complete failure of due diligence procedures of multiple actors, including international banks and audit companies.