They loot their countries, swim in a sea of wealth and orgies farther from their homelands, mostly in Western foreign lands, especially the United States, while their people are starving or dying from easily preventable diseases, and their killing squads are brutally murdering those who dare to speak up against corruption, embezzlement and tyranny.
"They" are tyrants and corrupt foreign leaders and their relatives, mostly from Africa, Asia, and Russia. After siphoning the economies of their countries, they use the loot to buy mansions, Yachts, rare paintings and artworks, luxury apartments, jewelry, million dollar cars, and other expensive items in the United States of America or hide the money via Panama, through shell companies. What is remaining is spent on prostitutes, gambling, and never ending parties. But this is changing, thanks to the United
States government. The US Department of Justice has decided that enough is enough and that these tyrants and corrupts need to pay their homelands and people back.
They need to return the laundered money, at least what is remaining of it, to where it came from. For that, the US has set up a special unit, at the Justice Department, known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, under sset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS). So far, the unit has pursued cases involving dictators, corrupt foreign officials and royalty.
The most notorious living or dead corrupt leaders and tyrants under investigation by the unit include the late Nigerian tyrant Sani Abacha, Theodore Nguema Obiang Mangue, the Vice-President and son of the long term tyrant of Equatorial Guinea Teadoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The US Justice Department has already seized $458 million out of $625 million allegedly stolen by Abacha, using the Nigerian Central Bank as his own and family's ATM machine. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered $30 million out of $70 million stolen from Equatorial Guinea's people (see here) from Theodora Obiang Nguema. The nepotistic tyrant's son had used used $100 million to buy expensive properties in the US, including a hilltop mansion in Malibu, CA, expensive sports cars and the well famed diamond encrusted Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour White Glove. He agreed to a $30 million settlement to resolve the U.S. government's accusations that he used money plundered from his country to acquire massive assets in the Unites States, including private jets, Ferrari, a $30 million mansion in Malibu, California, and Michael Jackson memorabilia such as a crystal-encrusted glove.
He was allowed to keep a Gulfstream jet and most of his Michael Jackson collection, including the white glove from Jackson's "Bad" world tour. He was allowed to keep these assets because they were not on the Unites States soil. However, they will be seized if they enter the United States.
In all, to date, KARI unit is pursuing more than a dozen cases. The unit, composed of criminal investigators, prosecutors and corruption squads from across a number of federal agencies, including the Justice Department, the Department of Treasury, the State Department, the FBI, and was created about six years ago, with a mandate is to prevent illegal money flowing through the U.S. financial system or stashing in the US real estate markets, through shell companies. It is believed that many more cases are being pursued, that may involved officials from Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Middle East, and South East Asia.
The kleptocrat dictators and foreign leaders have hired armies of lawyers to fight or preempt the cases against them. Because most of the thieves are tyrants, witnesses are intimidated and evidence overseas destroyed. Hence, the Justice Department has sought an easier way: seize the properties and returning them to the rightful people, rather than seeking prosecutions.
US Department of Justice Spokesperson, Peter Carr, has confirmed the effort, which is consistent with another on-going case, known as Panama Papers (see our article: Panama Papers Revelations: US Department of Justice Investigating Corruption and Blood Money)
The Panama Papers investigation targets: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iceland Prime Minister Sigumundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president, Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, Ayad Allawi, former vice-president of Iraq, Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungu, twin sister of Joseph Kabil, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, General Emmanuel Ndahiro, Private doctor and security advisor of Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame and former head of External Intelligence Services, Hatari Sekoko, the business partner of Paul Kagame's relatives, Kenya’s deputy chief of justice Kalpana Rawal, Kojo Annan, the son of former United Nations general secretary Kofi Annan, John Addo Kufuor, the son of Ghanian president John Agyekum Kufuor and many more.