PtP in the News: World Financial Review article on PtP and stolen assets

By on April 15, 2020

A new article focusing on PtP has been published in the latest edition of The World Financial Review. Noting that past experience with the return of stolen assets to governments has too often led to disappointing results, this brief piece, “Where Should All the Stolen Money Go?,” urges consideration instead of applying the Philanthropication thru Privatization, or PtP, concept, which calls for the placement of such assets into carefully structured, private charitable foundations as exemplified in the BOTA Foundation in Kazakhstan and many other foundations around the world.
This solution produces win-win benefits for countries and citizens alike, helps mobilize citizens for anti-corruption action, and ensures that preciously needed resources are used transparently and accountably to benefit citizens and not dumped into government coffers or returned to the corruption stream.
In this challenging time, when massive emergency funding from governments has intensified concerns about potential corruption, it is more important than ever to ensure that when corruption-generated resources are identified and returned they are truly dedicated to citizen needs. The PtP approach is a proven alternative for achieving this that has proven its value with respect to a wide assortment of assets that are “invisible in plain sight:” in the ground in the form of mineral deposits, in the air in the form of broadband spectrum auctions, in legal settlements for corporate misdeeds, and, as the case here, in foreign banks in the form of stolen assets.
Please feel free to share the article with those in your networks. You can read the full article from The World Financial Review or download the article as a PDF. Below is a brief excerpt from the article.


Where Should All the Stolen Money Go?
By Lester M. Salamon, Johns Hopkins University
Recent disclosures in emails obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists suggesting massive corruption by the family of former president José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola (NYT 1-19-2020) raise powerfully a question that has long hung over efforts to stamp out corruption around the world: what should be done with the assets generated by corruption once they are discovered and frozen?
The United Nations Convention Against Corruption stipulates that, where feasible, such assets should be returned to their country of origin, but does not specify exactly what entity should take ownership, unless the funds were embezzled from the government, and even then only when there is good reason to believe that the funds will not just find their way back into the corruption stream. But sadly, returning assets to the corruption stream is precisely what has happened in far too many documented cases, when recovered assets are returned to governments.
Fortunately, an alternative is available. When the President of Kazakhstan was found to have taken a bribe from several oil companies for facilitating the award of licenses for oil exploration in the Caspian Sea, a carefully structured, internationally managed, charitable foundation, the BOTA Foundation, was created to receive the funds and used them to improve the educational opportunities and life chances of Kazakhstan children and families. A similar option is under consideration for the return of a sizable portion of an $800 million bribe received by the daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan.


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Chelsea Newhouse is the Communications Manager for the Center for Civil Society Studies and manages the Center's Nonprofit Economic Data and Philanthropication thru Privatization Projects and the Nonprofit Works Interactive Database. Prior to joining the Center in 2008, she worked for the Johns Hopkins University Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, the Baltimore Sun, and as a community organizer for Clean Water Action and the Democratic National Committee. She holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. Chelsea can be reached at