Since the late 1990s Congress, along with the law enforcement community and financial regulators, has taken an on-again off-again interest in the prevention, detection and reporting of money laundering when the funds being laundered are the proceeds of foreign political corruption.

Reports describing the magnitude of the problem and efforts to repatriate these stolen assets have been published by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the World Bank and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's Financial Action Task Force. Case studies involving rulers such as Omar Bongo of Gabon, Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, the Duvaliers of Haiti and Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea illustrate how financial institutions in the U.S. and abroad were used by these individuals and others acting on their behalf to convey and protect their significant wealth.

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