Congo Hold-up

How to rob a country using a bank

#CongoHoldUp, the largest leak from the African continent to date, reveals how the commercial bank BGFIBank has been used to plunder the Democratic Republic of Congo’s public funds and natural resources, largely for the enrichment of former President Joseph Kabila’s inner circle.

The same bank group, with a troubled history of sheltering corrupt deals involving African autocrats and European companies, served as a hub for those seeking to unduly influence the then-president, including Chinese state-owned companies involved in massive mining ventures in the DRC. BGFIBank gave shady networks of businessmen, politicians, alleged Hezbollah financiers and others, access to the international banking system.

In an unprecedented alliance for research in the public interest, EIC and its media partners have teamed up with a group of non-profit research organisations led by PPLAAF (all listed below). They researched together the Congo Hold-Up documents for six months. Then media and NGOs performed fact-checking, confrontation and wrote their reports independently.

The Congo Hold-Up leak is composed of over 3.5 million internal documents from the BGFIBank, including bank statements, emails, contracts, bills and corporate records. The documents also include details of millions of banking transactions.

Follow the Congo Hold-Up stories during the next weeks. They will expose in great detail the tricks used by the BGFIBank and its clients to cover up endemic corruption and embezzlement of public money in the DRC, and how international banks failed to prevent such dubious money flows.

Publications

Mediapart [FR, EN, ES]

CONGO HOLD-UP - NOTRE DOSSIER
Congo hold-up - comment le clan Kabila a détourné 138 millions de dollars
La BGFI, banque de la Françafrique au cœur du scandale
Le plus grand « leak » d’Afrique dévoile les secrets financiers du Congo
Vidéo - piller son propre pays, mode d’emploi
Comment le clan Kabila s’est engraissé sur les importations alimentaires
Banque centrale de la RDC - les rouages d’un pillage d’État
Le megayacht et la société fantôme de Joseph Kabila
Des fonds publics ont renfloué la société textile des Kabila
Les montagnes de cash de la famille Kabila
Les élections, ce pactole
Des hommes d’affaires soupçonnés d’avoir financé le Hezbollah ont versé des fonds aux Kabila
Des entreprises françaises parmi les bénéficiaires d’un possible réseau de blanchiment
Des millions volés à l’État ont financé un retrait de cash par le directeur financier de Kabila
Les Chinois ont corrompu les Kabila pour un contrat minier géant
VG [NO]



The team

Initiators

Mediapart (Yann Philippin) and PPLAAF (Henri Thulliez)

Participants

Reporting

Yann Philippin, Justine Brabant, Karine Pfenniger and [Sebastien Bourdon] (https://twitter.com/seb_bourdon) (Mediapart), Roeland Termote, Kasper Goethals and Nikolas Vanhecke (De Standaard), Daniel Balint-Kurti, Gabriel Bourdon-Fattal, Henri Thulliez and [Julia Ntumba] (PPLAAF), Nada Maucourant Atallah (L’Orient-Le Jour), Barbara Holm, Jan Lamhauge and [Uni Holm Johannesen] (KvF), Michael J. Kavanagh and William Clowes (Bloomberg), Louis Colart and [Alain Lallemand] (Le Soir), John Dell’Osso, Douglas Gillison and Michelle Kendler-Kretsch (The Sentry), Agathe Duparc, Adrià Budry Carbó and [Camille Chappuis] (Public Eye), Carola Houtekamer and Jeroen Wester (NRC Handelsblad), Sonia Rolley (RFI), Jimmy KANDE and [Jolino Malukisa] (CRG), Joe Casey, Ned Davies, Ronan Kemp, Nicole Gilmer (BBC), Malte Born, Christoph Winterbach, Rafael Buschmann, [Nicola Naber], Maximilian Popp, Aleksandar Sarovic (Der Spiegel), Carl Emil Arnfred (Politiken), Catalin Prisacariu (CRJI), Elisabeth Caesens and Jean Claude Mputu (Resource Matters)

Tech and infodesign

Chrystelle Coupat and Rubing Shen (Mediapart), Simon Toupet (Mediapart), Gabriel Vijiala (EIC)

Project Design & Guide

Stefan Candea