Report finds developing countries lose nearly $1 trillion to illicit money flows in 2011

December 11
11:42 PM 2013

A report from Washington-based Global Financial Integrity revealed that close to $1 trillion were lost to illicit monetary transactions in 2011. This represented a 13.7% increase from the amount of money lost in the previous year through fraud, corruption and shady business deals in 150 developing countries. Global Financial Integrity is a research and advocacy organization that works to curtail illicit financial flows.

The $946.7 billion lost in 2011 was the biggest amount in a decade. According to the report, $10 is lost through illicit flows for every $1 worth of economic development assistance received by a developing country. The fastest increase in dirty money was exhibited in the Middle East and North Africa, with outflows rising 31.5% from 2002 to 2011. The proceeds were from crime, illicit business and corruption. Sub-Saharan Africa followed with outflows rising 20.2% in the decade which ended in 2011.

Meanwhile, the biggest amount of money was lost in Asia, which accounted for 40% of the $5.9 trillion lost in illicit financial outflows in developing countries in the decade covered in the study. GFI said majority of that came from China, accounting for $1.08 trillion.

GFI President Raymond Baker said, "As the world economy sputters along in the wake of the global financial crisis, the illicit underworld is thriving - siphoning more and more money from developing countries each year."

According to a Thomson Reuters Foundation report, G20 leaders are already paying attention on the issue. The leaders, who are faced with the work of repairing their economies after the recession, which took place in 2008 and 2009, and an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, are turning their focus on tax evasion. They are also cracking down on the corporate structures that could be used in money laundering and concealing criminal wealth, the report said.

GFI's research uses trade and balance of payments reports that are filed with the International Monetary Fund to track illicit money outflows in 150 developing countries.

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