Learn About Illicit Financial Flows
Key Terms

Despite Global Financial Crisis, Illicit Financial Outflows from Developing World Remain High, Finds New Report

December 15, 2011

Global Financial Integrity

Over US$900 Billion Illicitly Drained from Developing Countries in 2009, Says Annual GFI Study
Report Finds Developing World Lost US$8.44 Trillion over the Decade 2000-2009

Global Financial Integrity

WASHINGTON, DC – Developing countries lost US$903 billion in illicit financial outflows in 2009 despite the massive slowdown in economic activity which rocked world markets in late 2008, finds a new study by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based research and advocacy organization.

Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries over the Decade Ending 2009,” which estimates the developing world lost US$8.44 trillion over the decade ending in 2009, is GFI’s annual update on the amount of money flowing out of developing economies via crime, corruption and tax evasion, and it is the first of GFI’s reports to include data for the year 2009.

“This is a breathtakingly large sum at a time when developing and developed countries alike are struggling to make ends meet,” said GFI Director Raymond Baker.  “This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflows.”

While US$903 billion marks a drop from the US$1.55 trillion1 that illicitly flowed out of the developing world in 2008, the study finds the decrease is almost entirely attributable to the global financial crisis rather than any governance improvements or economic reforms.

The study, which was co-authored by GFI Lead Economist Dev Kar and GFI Economist Sarah Freitas, tracks the amount of illegal capital flowing out of 157 different developing countries over the 10-year period from 2000 through 2009, and it ranks the countries by magnitude of illicit outflows. According to the report, the 20 biggest victims of illicit financial flows over the decade are:

  1. China ……………………………………… $2.74 trillion
  2. Mexico …………………………………….. $504 billion
  3. Russia …………………………………….. $501 billion
  4. Saudi Arabia …………………………… $380 billion
  5. Malaysia …………………………………. $350 billion
  6. United Arab Emirates………………. $296 billion
  7. Kuwait …………………………………….. $271 billion
  8. Nigeria ……………………………………. $182 billion
  9. Venezuela ………………………………. $179 billion
  10. Qatar ………………………………………. $175 billion
  11. Poland …………………………………….. $162 billion
  12. Indonesia ………………………………… $145 billion
  13. Philippines ……………………………… $142 billion
  14. Kazakhstan …………………………….. $131 billion
  15. India ………………………………………… $128 billion
  16. Chile ………………………………………. $97.5 billion
  17. Ukraine ………………………………….. $95.8 billion
  18. Argentina ……………………………….. $95.8 billion
  19. South Africa ……………………………. $85.5 billion
  20. Turkey…………………………………….. $79.1 billion

For a complete ranking of average annual illicit financial outflows over the decade by country, please refer to Table 5 of the report’s appendix.

The report also reveals the top victims of illegal capital flight in 2009.  The top 20 countries suffering the highest illicit outflows in 2009 were:

  1. China ……………………………………… $291 billion
  2. Saudi Arabia …………………………… $82.3 billion
  3. Poland ……………………………………. $66.3 billion
  4. Malaysia ………………………………… $46.8 billion
  5. Mexico …………………………………… $34.6 billion
  6. Nigeria ………………………………….. $33.4 billion
  7. Russia ……………………………………. $23.4 billion
  8. Indonesia ……………………………….. $20.5 billion
  9. United Arab Emirates ……………… $19.5 billion
  10. Venezuela ………………………………. $18.8 billion
  11. Iran ………………………………………. $18.1 billion
  12. Azerbaijan ……………………………… $14.3 billion
  13. Chile ……………………………………… $13.1 billion
  14. South Africa …………………………… $12.9 billion
  15. Vietnam ………………………………… $12.5 billion
  16. Philippines ……………………………… $12.1 billion
  17. Argentina ………………………………. $11.7 billion
  18. Thailand ………………………………… $10.8 billion
  19. Romania ……………………………….. $10.0 billion
  20. Ukraine …………………………………. $9.8 billion

To schedule an interview with GFI spokespersons on this report, contact Clark Gascoigne at +1 202 293 0740, ext. 222 or cgascoigne@gfintegrity.org. On-camera spokespersons are available in Washington, DC.

For more information on the report, visit http://iffdec2011.gfintegrity.org.

###

Footnotes:

  1. GFI’s previous annual study of illicit financial flows out of developing countries, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2000-2009,” published in January 2011, found that US$1.44 trillion had flown out of developing economies in 2008.  Due to revised/improved World Bank and IMF data, GFI’s new report estimates that US$1.55 trillion is a more accurate measurement of illicit financial outflows in 2008.

Notes to Editors:

Contact:

Clark Gascoigne
cgascoigne@gfintegrity.org
+1 202 293 0740, ext. 222

__________

Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system.

For additional information please visit www.gfintegrity.org

Follow us on: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Share
Latest Press Releases

GFI Notes Significant Progress on Automatic Information Exchange but Warns that Poorest Countries Are Being Shunned

Global Financial Integrity · October 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – While noting significant progress today in the global effort to curb tax evasion, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) expressed concerns that ...

Report reveals threat to U.S. interests from anonymous shell company owners

Global Witness · September 25, 2014

Owners of anonymous companies registered in U.S. states are ripping off innocent people and businesses across America, says a new report by ...

G20 Introduces “Transparency” Behind Closed Doors

Financial Transparency Coalition · September 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The G20’s recent focus on financial transparency is a welcome development, but instituting bare minimum requirements, or plans that allow for ...