Home | News    Sunday 19 December 2010

Wikileaks: Sudan President stashed billions in secret bank accounts, says ICC prosecutor

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December 18, 2010 (NAIROBI) – Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has squirreled away billions of dollars into personal bank accounts overseas, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) claimed - according to a leaked US report.

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Sudan President Omar al-Bashir (FILE – Getty Images)

A US diplomatic cable published by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has revealed that the chief prosecutor at the ICC, Louis Moreno-Ocampo, told US diplomats on March 20, 2009 that president Al-Bashir had siphoned off as much as 9 billion US dollars into foreign bank accounts.

The ICC has issued two warrants for the arrest of Al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, where a seven-year conflict between Al-Bashir’s regime and rebels fighting against perceived neglect of the region has killed 300,000 people and displaced more than 2 million, according to UN figures.

Al-Bashir denies the charges and denigrates them as a Western plot to overthrow him. The Sudanese government also maintains that the number of those who died in Darfur stands at only 10,000.

Confirming the information contained in the leaked cable, Ocampo told Reuters on Saturday that investigations carried out by his office had shown that Al-Bashir is holding a fortune of up to 9 billion US dollars.

"I am investigating the financial aspects and we have information about Bashir’s money. I can confirm that it is up to $9 billion," Ocampo declared.

In the leaked cable, Ocampo told the US diplomats that exposing those accounts would turn the Sudanese public opinion against Al-Bashir, changing his image from “a crusader to that of a thief.”

The leaked cable quoted Ocampo as suggesting that the London-based Lloyd’s Bank “might be holding or knowledgeable of the whereabouts of his money."

Quoted by Reuters on Saturday, a spokesman for Loyds has strongly denied the prosecutor’s claims, stating the bank had no evidence of any connection with Al-Bashir and that it is the bank’s policy “to abide by the legal and regulatory obligations in all jurisdictions in which we operate."

Ocampo himself on Saturday denied that Al-Bashir’s money was in the custody of Loyds Bank, saying that his leaked statements were based on the fact that the bank holds accounts of some Sudanese officials. "The money is not in Lloyds, the connection is that they (Lloyds) have some official accounts with the government of Sudan," he told Reuters.

In January 2009, the bank was forced to forfeit 350 million US dollars to the US Administration to settle an investigation which proved that it had altered wire transfer information to enable clients from Sudan and Iran to do business transactions in the US banking system.

The leaked cable disclosed that Ocampo had urged the US administration and the international community to push for the arrest of Al-Bashir to isolate him.

According to the cable, the ICC prosecutor suggested that increasing pressure on Al-Bashir could spur power-hungry members of his own party to get rid of him, likening his situation to "a bleeding shark being surrounded by other sharks."

In the leaked cable, Ocampo opined that reassuring China that its oil interests in Sudan would not be compromised by a potential successor of Al-Bashir could make it more open to his removal.

The leaked cable also cited thoughts by Ocampo that Al-Bashir was using expulsion of NGOs to deflect attention from his arrest warrant.

In the wake of issuing the first arrest warrant for him in March 2005, Al-Bashir responded by expelling 13 international NGOs, accusing them of spying for the court.

Sudan says accusations targets Al-Bashir’s image

Sudan has sought to discredit Ocamp’s accusations, saying that their aim is to tarnish Al-Bashir’s image among his countrymen.

The country’s official news agency SUNA quoted the minister of media Kamal Obaiyd as saying that the Wikileaks cable had debunked Ocampo and proved that he receives orders from politicians and had nothing to do with legal and professional manner.

He said that the amount of money he accused Al-Bashir of stealing is too huge to believe and that there is no such amount in the state’s coffers.

The minister also said that the cable had demonstrated the extent to which the US department of state and its collaborators in attempts to target the image of Sudan and President Al-Bashir.

Reuters quoted another Sudanese official as suggesting that it is impossible for Al-Bashir to hold bank accounts in a western country due to US economic sanctions.

"Sudan is heavily sanctioned. There is a lot of surveillance around Sudan. How could President Bashir put this amount in a Western bank?"

Sudan has been under US economic sanctions since 1997 over alleged human rights abuses and sponsorship of terrorism. The sanctions were tightened under President Bush administration in 2007 over the conflict in Darfur.

(ST)

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  • 19 December 2010 06:26, by $iong mayom

    This idiot is the real definition of a DEVIL. He has massacred his own countrymen and in the process stole Billions of their dollars and watch them starve to death while stashing wealth in foreign Banks. Now We hope the Blind Northerners can finally open their eyes as Beshir is not only oppressing Southerners and Darfurians but is also siphoning away money that can be used to built schools,roads and hospitals. OMG Beshir you are a pathetic gutless dictator who has turned against his country and people. That money has to be frozen when the evil is finally caught and hanged.

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    • 19 December 2010 07:06, by Nhomlawda

      I don’t believe mr. president had done this.
      First, what is he going to do with nine billion dollars in overseas accounts when he does not even have children to feed on that cash after leaving office.
      Mr. Al Bashir can’t be that fool to keep his looted money in a western country especially Britian when he is in unstable relationship with Britian and America.
      Al Bashir might have money in a country like China, U.A.E, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore or Turkey.
      I think Ocampo would like to get Al Bashir to the Hague as soon as possible by adding more salt to his current charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
      Mr. Al Bashir knew what happened to Nigerian dictator money in Switzerland banks and I donot think mr. president had that little brain to fall into the same trap like his former friends such as Gen. Sani Abacha and Mobutu Sekoseko whose bank accounts where frozen after they had lost power in their countries.
      We have to judge truth from falsy in this case.
      If it is true, mr. president had done this, than he must be the greatest fool of all times.

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    • 19 December 2010 10:29, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

      Let Beshir face the justice accordingly. Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo shouldn’t only talk but he must also act immediately to avoid more crimes to be committed by Beshir.

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    • 20 December 2010 13:38, by John Gum

      Oscapo
      You are correct,Basir is preparing to go for exile if south-sudan become indepedent he must be targeted due to his jealousness,Basir is greedy man who came into power by cope to consume our wealths.

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  • 19 December 2010 06:28, by $iong mayom

    correction: "build schools" not "built"

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  • 19 December 2010 06:38, by Garang

    The memory of Bashir turn from being a president to a thief where he decided to run with 12 billion dollars amount of money which a person who is concern for his country and his people can not put this money in his own pocket.

    Shame on you Bashir,just surrender yourself to ICC for investigaion instead of corupting your own people properties which will later on bring bad name to your children and the children of your children in the country that you badly rule for two decade.

    KERUBINO GARANG DENG

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  • 19 December 2010 06:54, by Sam.Eto

    Why do you 2 believe Ocampo when the US did not? Do you think the US would not mention it if there was any truth to it! Ocampo is a mad man. He should be charged for false accusations! Like the article stated - Sudan is sanction, do you really think Bashir could transfer 9 billion dollars to Lloyds Bank in the UK. If it were a Swiss bank, Malaysian or even UAE maybe - But UK. How naive and gullible could you be – or is it your blind hatred for Northerners that makes you believe anything said about them and their president.

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    • 19 December 2010 07:44, by Bol Deng

      Hey San.Eto,

      Just argument about the money and no more than that. Your Northerners are known for those kind of behaviors. Your are one who like sponsoring unwanted human. Please, you go and complain in hell my friend.

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  • 19 December 2010 07:40, by Bol Deng

    He is a true president for Northerners( Arabs). Why do Mr Omer Bashier open his account in foreign bank account if those among belong to him. I think if this $ 9 billions are in Sudanese account, there would be no argument that those money belong to him because a lot of people noways have those kind of money in their personal account. But, the source might have a clue how and why the money are present in foreign bank account. This is a wolf situation. The whole of Africa are like this! A leader has wealth! a poor has none!

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  • 19 December 2010 09:40, by Aleu

    This is why these African leaders were not supporting the ICC over Omar al Bashir’s case, because of such cultures corruption in Africa. Every leader in Africa is so corrupt and they don’t know this is the 21st century where by people have learn or want to know everything and I wish if all Sudanese are thinking like me then, we should immediately asking the Internation world Bankers to take these 9 billion back to the Sudan nation, because they are belonging to the country not single person like that indictment.

    The late president of Congo did stolen about 8 billion dollars and the world asked his Son to rurned back those 8 billion to the country, because they were belong to the country Congo. Sudanese people should and must ask the International if there is real evidence for such among and I belief it is true.

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    • 19 December 2010 10:34, by Victory

      I knew it mr president ,that you wouldn’t just come up with such offer like what you offored us yesterday to give us ful oil revenus, its not out of no where,after you have stolen such huge amount of money then then later on you came up with your stupid offer after you has keept your portion in europ,sham on you sir,bashir you are more than a crimenal.

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  • 19 December 2010 14:18, by Villageboy

    This proves beyond reasonable doubt the fact that Louis Moreno Ocampo the Argentinean Jew is a mere agent of Western imperialistic interests! His highly “unprofessional” conduct betrays him! By simply analyzing Mr Ocampo’s appearance and listening to his speeches one will discover him to be a “half-baked” if not “quack” legal practitioner! There is nothing legal in what he vomits in the name of statements rather mere political verbatim. “Give the dog a bad name and hang him" the saying goes. It’s obvious that all crimes alleged to have been committed by El-Bashir are "fictitious" and are merely framed-up against His Excellency, to defame his character, implicate him and give room for a power change to a Zionist-friendly and puppet regime in Khartoum! Their plans are well known and they will always fail because power belongs to God, and it is He who gives and takes!

    Ocampo in my opinion should be sued for "libel", "slander" and "defamation of character" if he fails to prove his point against El-Bashir! His begging the USA, which doesn’t even recognize ICC, to support his smear campaign against El-Basir exposes the political aganda of the ICC.

    The question is why must justice be selective? Why target only African leaders? Why not investigate war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq, Gaza? Are some above the law? Who can prosecute Bush? Two days ago, America’s former Vice-President Dick Cheney who was to appear before a Nigerian court for corruption charges has refused to appear before the court, and no one can challenge him!

    And for those happy that a fellow African president is being persecuted and embarrassed by Ocampo, we shouldn’t forget that it’s just the beginning! Today Sudan’s President and Kenya’s Minister of Finance/Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are targetted, tomorrow south-Sudan’s leaders will be dragged before the ICC by Ocampo that they embezzled funds meant for the South’s development and deposited in Western banks, and then we’ll understand that we have sold out ourselves as 21st slaves to Western imperialists!

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    • 19 December 2010 15:09, by Observer

      Village Boy- maybe you should rename yourself Village Idiot

      You talk about someone suing Ocampo for slander and libel but you then conduct yourself in the very same way that you are protesting about.

      If you had taken time to research the ICC you will have found out that it was set up in 2002,therefore no crimes allegedly committed before then could be prosecuted so that shoots your statement about Vietnam.

      Bush withdrew USA’s signature before they could ratify their acceptance of this treaty, which was prior to him invading Iraq in 2003. Israel, like Sudan is also not a signatory so if a prosecution is going to be made it has to be done through the likes of the UNSC, as in the case of Sudan.

      Also the ICC, as I undertsand from my reading of it, was set up as an initiative and at the request of African and Latin American countries. As at October 2010 the breakdown of member countries was Europe 41, Africa 31, Americas, 26, Asia 8 and Oceania 8. Kind of blows your Western imperalist theory out the door..

      Of the 5 African ICC warrants which are current ( remember nothing has yet been issued for Kenya) 4 were at the request of the Government of that country ( President El- Bashir’s being the only one that hasn’t been).

      I haven’t seen you on here defending the JEM rebels who were indicted by the ICC for their involvement in teh AU peacekeepers invasion in Darfur, but I guess that is different huh?

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      • 19 December 2010 15:53, by Villageboy

        Another brainwashed African! I don’t blame you for your colonial mentality. Are JEM rebels whitemen? Do you think the whites take us as equals? Let a white politician or rebel be prosecuted, jailed or hanged then we will be satisfied that ICC’s justice isn’t selective.

        I love my black skin and cherish my African heritage, and as the foremost 19th Century Pan-Africanist W.E. Du-Bois said; "Be conscious of yourself as a blackman and be conscious of how others see you as a blackman"! It’s only when you possess this "double consciousness" that you can survive!

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        • 19 December 2010 19:18, by Observer

          VillageBoy, you assume so much and know so little.

          Are you saying that Slobodan Milosevic was a black man and not white?
          Just in case you don’t know who he is, he was indicted by the ICC and was in detention awaiting trial but died.

          In the words of Mark Twain "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"

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          • 20 December 2010 14:48, by Villageboy

            Mr Observer; Do you know the outcome of Slobodan Milosevic’s conviction? It was a mere "cosmetic legal drama" to "fool" Africans of the ’impartiality’ of the ICC and in the end despite the blood stain on his hands what did they do to him? I’ll leave it for you to find out as a homework! Don’t be so naive! I’m afraid with your type still being harboured in Africa, we are a doomed continent!

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  • 19 December 2010 16:41, by James Garang

    I am really believed that Al Bashir is really stealing those money because he hope always on his arm because he think being a president there is nothing above his power. I thanks wikileak for that report.
    President Omer Hassan Al Bashir is a brave man killing many people and is a man not worry about anythings in his life so for those depend him do you think that Al Bashir is a fear man? no is not a fear man even he took the hundreds thousands of Billion he will take them without fear because Omer does not have compassion for other in their life he just dealing with opressing other and take their right whether they want or not.
    I think President Bashir want to run away from the country because of ICC that why he took huge amount of money outside the country for his safety in all his life.
    Thanks be to Louis Moreno Ocampo please continue add other more against Bashir so that he will know the right of human being.

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