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Yemen’s Saleh netted $60bn through corruption

The corrupt practices of Yemen’s former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh have netted the strongman up to $60 billion, a UN sanctions panel will report to the Security Council on Tuesday.

The panel’s report says Saleh amassed up to $2 billion a year from 1978 until he was forced to step down in 2012.

The assets are hidden in at least twenty countries with the help of business associates and front companies.

The report stated: “It is also alleged that Ali Abdullah Saleh, his friends, his family and his associates stole money from the fuel subsidy program, which uses up to ten per cent of Yemen’s gross domestic product, as well as other ventures involving abuse of power, extortion and embezzlement.”

The report was prepared by a panel of experts appointed by the Council to monitor the asset freezes and travel bans placed on Saleh and other spoilers of Yemen’s political transition last February. The Council is expected to renew those sanctions on Tuesday for another year.

Saleh has evaded the measures with the help of at least five prominent Yemeni businessmen, the report said.

Saleh stepped down in 2012 in a deal that granted him immunity from prosecution and allowed him stay in the country. The transitional government that succeeded him, headed by Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, was toppled last month with Saleh accused by some of using his wealth and connections to play a part in this.

The panel’s estimated wealth of Saleh at $60 billion would place him fifth in the Forbeslist of the world’s richest people.

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world; ranked 154th out of 187 in the UN’s Human Development Index and ranked worst in the world for gender equality.

Yemen lost its vote in the UN General Assembly last month because of the country’s inability to pay its dues.

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