The lavish lifestyles enjoyed by dictators across the Middle East and North Africa have fuelled widespread anger at the way national assets have been looted for the benefit of the few. So what happens to all this wealth once it is spirited out of the country? Can it ever be recovered? And why does the international banking system make it so easy for corruption to flourish? Al Jazeera’s People & Power asked veteran financial journalist, Steve Levinson, to investigate.
See also a recent report by Global Financial Integrity, which estimates illegal capital flight from Africa at more than $1 trillion over the past four decades, “facilitated by a global shadow financial system comprising tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mispricing, and money laundering techniques.”