Big names and big money – surprise, surprise – dominate corruption news today.
Suha Arafat, the widow of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, has been living comfortably in Malta. Now, a Tunisian court has issued an international arrest warrant for her. The issue stems from alleged corruption when Mrs. Arafat – a native of Tunisia – founded the Carthage International School with the country’s former, and much criticized, first lady Leila Trabelsi. The two women have since had a falling out. Mrs. Arafat was stripped of her Tunisian citizenship, and she denies the allegations.
Never has Mrs. Arafat gotten so much attention since the time that she got a friendly hug and kiss from Hillary Clinton back in the West Bank.
The case against the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea continues to fascinate because of the wretched excess of Teodorin Obiang, who had a pauper’s salary as a government official and yet was able to rack up one of the richest set of toys on the planet. The U.S. Government is moving to seize $70 million of his U.S. assets and what a treasure trove: a $10 million fleet that included Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis, a Maserati, and several Mercedes. Oh, there were high performance boats, a $30 million Bel Air mansion and a Gulfstream V jet.
With such an obvious show of wealth, human rights activists question why it took the U.S. government five years after receiving reports of his spending to look into where the money was coming from.
Sweep to The Plundering of Equatorial Guinea
Remember Ravi Shankar and his sitar? He was the mellow music-maker who worked with the Beatles and brought a feeling of happiness to all who listened to his wonderful sounds. He’s now singing out against corruption in India. He’s asking people to take a pledge against corruption and will be speaking out against its ills.
Not that’s a tune we could all hum along to.