(Paris, November 19th, 2021) Over 3.5 million documents from BGFIBank reveal how the bank served as a center for those seeking to corrupt the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) authorities and gave suspect networks access to the international banking system, said the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) today.
The documents were obtained by PPLAAF and Mediapart and shared with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), non-profit research organizations and media partners in an unprecedented alliance for research in the public interest, dubbed “Congo Hold-up”. Almost 100 contributors from 18 countries, working with 19 media and 5 non-profit organizations, analyzed the documents.
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.
“These documents unravel the lucrative appetite of Congolese politicians and international businessmen,” said William Bourdon, chairman of PPLAAF. “But thanks to an unprecedented and fruitful alliance of journalists and NGOs acting for the general interest, we can now shed light on those seeking to use opacity to satisfy their greed.”
Congo Hold-up exposes how private interests took hold of and misused DRC’s rich natural resources, Electoral Commission, Central Bank, public mining companies, and tax revenues.
Banking, construction and food sectors, as well as the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations, were not spared, the publications will show.
As revealed by Mediapart, investigations found that at least $138 millions of the DRC’s public monies transited through BGFIBank to companies owned by former President Joseph Kabila’s inner circle. An additional $105 millions from unknown sources were credited on accounts belonging to the same group.
BGFIBank group, with a troubled history of sheltering corrupt deals involving African autocrats and European companies, facilitated fraudulent schemes for businessmen, politicians, alleged Hezbollah financiers and others.
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.
“The treasure trove of documents of Congo Hold-up exposes in minute detail the ploys used by the bank and its clients to cover up endemic corruption,” said Henri Thulliez, director of PPLAAF. “The banking transactions, emails, and corporate records form a perfect handbook of how a kleptocracy works.”
In the coming weeks, Congo Hold-up partners around the world will publish stories that expose in great detail the tricks used by the BGFIBank and its clients.
“With these new revelations, it’s high time for Congolese and international authorities to launch proper investigations into these practices which have damaged the Congolese population,” said Jean-Claude Mputu, spokesperson of the Congo is not for Sale coalition. “We need to end this vicious circle of impunity for financial crimes.”
PPLAAF is a non-governmental organization established in 2017 to protect whistleblowers, as well as to advocate and engage in strategic litigation on their behalf when their revelations deal with the general interests of African citizens
For more information on Congo Hold-up, please visit the investigation’s website: https://congoholdup.com
For more information on PPLAAF, please visit:
- PPLAAF’s website: https://pplaaf.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PPLAAF/
- Twitter: @pplaaf
- Email: Info@pplaaf.org
For more information, please contact:
- Henri Thulliez, PPLAAF director (French, English): firstname.lastname@example.org or +33-6-58-01-61-96
- Gabriel Bourdon- Fattal, PPLAAF Project manager (French, English, Hebrew): email@example.com or +33-6-58-01-61-96
- Jean-Claude Mputu, Congo is not for sale spokesperson (French): firstname.lastname@example.org or +32 498 38 11 39
List of Congo Hold-up partners:
- With the EIC network: Mediapart (France), De Standaard and Le Soir (Belgium), NRC (Netherlands), Der Spiegel (Germany), infoLibre (Spain), Politiken (Denmark), Expresso (Portugal), VG (Norway), Nacional (Croatia), RCIJ (Romania)
- Bloomberg (USA)
- RFI – Radio France Internationale(France)
- L’Orient le Jour (Lebanon)
- BBC Africa Eye (UK)
- KvF (Faeroe Islands)
- The Namibian (Namibia)
- The Continent (South Africa)
- The Wire (India)