Audit of Mozambique Debt Reveals Corruption

Ahead of President Trump's first G20 meeting in Germany this weekend, Mozambique released an audit exposing violations of the country's laws to secure now-defaulted loans. Nearly $2 billion in loans were secured by the government of Mozambique but hidden from the public and Parliament. Last week, Business Insider reviewed CIA data and ranked Mozambique as one of the most indebted countries in the world. The United Nations Development Programme ‎lists Mozambique as one of the least developed countries in the world at 181 out of 188 countries. 

“We know that the financial crisis in Mozambique was caused by corruption at the national and international level,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. “It seems a group of Mozambique's leaders and creditors conspired to steal from some of the world's poorest people.”

The financial scandal and debt crisis facing Mozambique will be discussed in Hamburg by G20 leaders in the context of new responsible lending and borrowing guidelines during their annual two day meeting. Finance Ministers for the Group of 20 supported these "Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing" at their March meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany.

“The G20 is calling on its member countries to pass stronger laws to stop corruption and enforce responsible lending and borrowing,” said LeCompte who serves on United Nation debt expert groups. “While the new G20 guidelines fall short on determining whether or not a country's debt is sustainable, the guidelines are progress in protecting vulnerable people from economic crisis."

The Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing are available here

The Executive Summary of the audit of Mozambique is available here

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G20 Focuses on Debt, Taxes and Inequality

The G20 meets in Hamburg, Germany on Friday and Saturday for their annual meetings.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"The G20 is focusing on inequality and inclusive economic growth during their meetings in Hamburg. These issues impact all of us, let alone the poorest people in our world.

"Behind closed doors the G20 conversation on inequality will get specific on debt and tax issues.

"‎It's important that the G20 will likely support new global guidelines on responsible lending and borrowing during their meetings. It's critical that the G20 continues efforts to thwart tax evasion and corruption."

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Puerto Rico Power Utility Files for Bankruptcy

The Puerto Rico power utility PREPA, filed for bankruptcy protection under the Title III process created by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"It's important that Puerto Rico's power utility filed for Title III bankruptcy protection. We can expect a more favorable debt restructuring for the people of Puerto Rico than the previous debt deal.

"In order for Puerto Rico to get out of this crisis, all debt should be dealt with through one comprehensive process. This is another reason that it is good news ‎that PREPA files under the same process that is being used to resolve most of the island's debt."

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European Union Votes on Corporate Transparency Regulations

The European Parliament is set to vote on landmark corporate transparency rules known as "country-by-country" reporting. Under the new law all major multinational corporations, including US businesses that work in Europe, will publicly disclose taxes and other payments made to governments in countries where they operate. The European Union (EU) Parliament likely will vote in favor of the regulations before Wednesday and then the EU Council will make the final decision. ‎

“This is exciting news. Europe is moving forward the most comprehensive rules to date to stop bribery and encourage corporations to pay taxes where they operate,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. LeCompte served on United Nations expert groups that focused on these new rules. “Unfortunately as we are making progress in Europe less comprehensive transparency regulations are threatened with repeal in the United States.”

‎As new transparency regulations in Europe move forward, similar US provisions are under attack. Section 1504 of the US Dodd-Frank Act requires oil, gas and mining industries to perform similar US reporting to the European measure. Congress slowed the US provision from moving forward earlier this year and then the US House of Representatives voted to repeal Section 1504 entirely. ‎Jubilee USA leads a campaign to prevent the Senate from repealing the transparency meassure.

“Corporate transparency rules are vital for combatting corruption and ensuring that our economy protects vulnerable communities,” said LeCompte.

The EU legislation includes an exemption for corporations to not disclose information if the disclosure would threaten commercial interests.

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Puerto Rico Board Meets on Anniversary of Debt Legislation

Puerto Rico's oversight board is holding its eighth public meeting in San Juan at the Sheraton Hotel Convention Center. In executive session on Tuesday, the board rejected a debt restructuring deal between bond holders and‎ Puerto Rico's power company known as PREPA.

“The PREPA deal was a bad deal and the board was right to reject it,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA. LeCompte testified to Congress and the oversight board on the ‎island's debt crisis. "Puerto Rico needs significant debt relief and the PREPA deal fell short of a serious debt haircut."

The PREPA restructuring now likely moves to the Title III bankruptcy process. The process was created by Puerto Rico debt crisis legislation.

“The Title III bankruptcy process is important because it can deal with all of Puerto Rico's debt. All of the island's debt should be restructured in this one comprehensive process that can deeply cut the debt,”‎ said LeCompte.

This week, Judge Laura Taylor Swain continued the Title III bankruptcy proceedings and earlier this month appointed a team of federal judges to act as mediators in the bankruptcy process. The team will meet with representatives of Puerto Rico and its creditors for the first time on July 12.

“Puerto Rico's debt has a human cost. Nearly 60% of kids on the island live in poverty,”‎ noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Congress made a promise to reduce child poverty on the island and the debt needs to be restructured in ways that will lift kids out of poverty."

The oversight board meets on the one year anniversary of President Obama signing a law that created the board and established a Congressional task force to make recommendations to reduce child poverty. The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) established the Title III bankruptcy process and protections for Puerto Rico from debt lawsuits.

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Legislation Combats Shell Company Corruption

Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) heralded the House introduction of the Corporate Transparency Act at press conference at the House Triangle. The bill aims to prevent shell companies from hiding corrupt and criminal activity. ‎

“Dictators use financial secrecy to steal money from their people and human traffickers use shell companies," said Eric LeCompte Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "We need Congressional action that protects vulnerable communities from being exploited through financial secrecy."

The legislation requires US corporations to disclose in a private registry that is available to law enforcement, the names of the owners who benefit from a business.

"The leadership of Representatives Maloney and King is critical as we work to promote a more transparent financial system,”‎ noted LeCompte.

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Eric LeCompte Featured in Financial Express

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in The Financial Express speaking on trade. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Jubilee USA Director Hails Inclusion of Dispute Settlement Mechanisms

By: Staff

"Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, in a statement hailed the inclusion of dispute settlement mechanisms in the new trade negotiation goals.

'Trade agreements can be powerful tools for reducing global poverty and the new negotiating objectives recognise the need for trade to promote global development,' the statement said."

Read more here.

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Greece Debt Meeting Defers Decision on Debt Relief

European Union Finance Ministers, the International Monetary Fund and Greek officials agreed on short-term debt plans for Greece but did not reach an agreement on long-term debt solutions.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"Greece needs significant debt relief as soon as possible. ‎There can be no sustainable economic growth without cutting the debt.

"The longer we wait to restructure the debt, the harder it becomes to resolve Greece's problems."

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Eric LeCompte Featured in Agenzia Fides

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in Agenzia Fides speaking on NAFTA. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

AMERICA/ UNITED STATES - “Promote Development and Protect Vulnerable Citizens” NAFTA Agreement for Revision

By: Staff

"Eric LeCompte, of the Jubilee USA Network, and Jennifer Hojaiban, sent a letter to Lighthizer stressing the need in these trade negotiations to promote development, to discuss problems and protect vulnerable citizens."

Read more here.

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Jubilee USA Statement on Greek Eurozone Debt Negotiation

The International Monetary Fund, Eurozone Finance Ministers and Greek officials meet Thursday in Luxembourg to negotiate financing and further debt restructuring for Greece. 

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"It's time to deal with Greece's debt now. Greece won't see sustainable economic growth unless it receives significant debt relief. We can't keep kicking the can down the road.

"In 1953, Germany benefited from a sweeping debt restructuring that included both significant debt relief and rescheduling debt payments into the future. The London Accord plan led to a prosperous Germany. Now we need a similar plan for a prosperous Greece and a prosperous European Union.

"We can never forget that Greece's high-stake debt negotiations have a growing human ‎cost. In order to limit austerity and protect people's livelihoods, serious debt relief must be a part of a solution as soon as possible."

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