Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari has issued a demand for $100 million in compensation for HSBC’s alleged role in former dictator Sani Abacha’s money laundering scheme. Abacha had ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his sudden death in 1998, and the Nigerian economy showed a noticeable rebound not long afterward.
HSBC Accused of Role in Abacha’s Plundering of Economy Of Nigeria
Those familiar with the situation say that Abacha, the aforementioned dictator, illegally plundered $4.3 billion in Nigeria’s oil-based wealth. As such, international watchdog groups say that he was the fourth most corrupt ruler in history, which may come as a surprise to some. Inflation plummeted from 55% to 8.5% and Forex reserves rose 1,800% after Abacha’s death. HSBC now stands accused of helping Abacha launder those illegal gains.
“Our investigation agencies believe that HSBC had laundered more than US$100 million for the late General Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London, and Geneva,” said a spokesman for the current Nigerian president.
It’s notable that HSBC said that Nigeria’s economy would suffer if Muhammad Buhari won a second term as president, which could be seen as a smokescreen for its illegal activities in Nigeria and elsewhere. As alluded to in the earlier quote, HSBC is said to have used its branches in Jersey, London, Paris, and Geneva to help the former Nigerian dictator launder money.
Could Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Help Counter Abuses by Banks?
Blockchain has been proposed as a way to track the flow of money for anything from spending by nonprofits to increasing transparency in the banking industry. Anyone can inspect records on a blockchain explorer, while records on an adequately decentralized blockchain are virtually impossible to spoof in a way that will fool experts or even an eagle-eyed consumer.
Keeping this in mind, banks and their political supporters appear to be afraid cryptocurrencies’ potential as a competitor to legacy systems, resulting in these firms to run anti-cryptocurrency propaganda campaigns and attempt to intimidate influential crypto community members when they fight back.
Congressman Brad Sherman, for instance, once demanded that a Twitter user going by the handle @TheCryptoDog to stop trying to make him look bad for insisting that cryptocurrency mining and trading should be banned when TheCryptoDog pointed out that one of his campaign donors had forfeited $13.3 million to the government after facilitating illegal gambling.
Considering this shining example of politicians’ bumbling attempts to hide their association with banks, along with banks’ lack of ethical qualms regarding the facilitation of financial crimes and corruption, Nigerian President Buhari’s insistence that HSBC should provide compensation for its role in Abacha’s corruptive tactics may be a step in the right direction.
Buhari may even be unintentionally clearing the way for cryptocurrencies to gain a foothold in Africa and anywhere else where corruption and illegal financial activity are problems if he and other officials who take a stand against corruption can harm banks’ ability to profit from illegal dealings and corruption.