Behind the G8 leaders’ photo ops and trumped-up commitments to cancel African debt, the dirty business of so-called “vulture funds” are making real debt relief impossible. As reported by investigative journalist Greg Palast on the BBC and Democracy Now, companies have been allowed to buy debts owed by African countries at a discount, and then sue those countries for more than the value of the debt:
In February, BBC investigative journalist Greg Palast exposed on Democracy Now! how one vulture fund, Donegal International owned by US resident Michael Sheehan, was trying to collect $40 million dollars from Zambia after buying one of its debts for $4 million dollars. Soon after, Congressman John Conyers and Congressman Donald Payne brought this up with President Bush, and urged him to ensure that the G-8 summit would close the legal loopholes that allow vulture funds to flourish.
PHOTO OF GREG PALAST: FROM HIS FLICKR PAGE