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Plundering politicians and bribing multinationals undermine economic development, says TI

Transparency International’s new Global Corruption Report 2004 charts the flow of stolen assets, recommends ways to recover money looted by despots, and sets out new Standards on Political Finance and Favours

Political corruption undermines the hopes for prosperity and stability of developing countries, and damages the global economy," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), launching the TI Global Corruption Report 2004 ( GCR 2004 ) today. "The abuse of political power for private gain deprives the most needy of vital public services, creating a level of despair that breeds conflict and violence. It also hits the pockets of taxpayers and shareholders worldwide. The problem must be tackled at the national and international level," he said.

"The GCR 2004, with a special focus on political corruption," said Eigen, "is a call to action to bring integrity and accountability into governance, to stop bribery by multinational companies, and to curb the flow of stolen assets into secret bank accounts in the west." TI is the leading international non-governmental organisation combating corruption worldwide.

"Democracies can no longer tolerate bribery, fraud and dishonesty," states former US President Jimmy Carter in a foreword to the GCR 2004 , "especially as such practices disproportionately hurt the poor."

The GCR 2004 details funds allegedly embezzled by political leaders of the past two decades. During his misrule, Mohamed Suharto, President of Indonesia from 1967-98, is alleged to have stolen US$15-US$35 billion in a country where the GDP per capita hovers at around US$700. Suharto tops the table of corrupt politicians.

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