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Now, where did I put that $276 billion?

Now, where did I put that $276 billion?

Everyone knows you have to plug a leak before it cause serious damage. Kipp supposes it’s not different when you’re leaking cash.

January 20, 2011 3:08 by



Kipp had a hole in its jacket pocket once. We didn’t realize right away, we just knew we were losing cash. Then we realized that our jacket had started to jingle – and the lining seemed to have taken on a rather lumpy, coin-shaped form. Obviously, we hadn’t lost a penny, and in fact it turned into a rather novel way to save spare change.

It seems unlikely we’ll be able to say the same thing about the UAE’s disappearing cash, however. According to Global Financial Integrity, a US research agency, the UAE was placed in the top 10 countries worldwide for money lost through illicit capital outflow.

Oooh, sounds sexy, doesn’t it? Afraid not. Illicit capital outflow means cash lost through bribery, theft, kickbacks, tax evasion, trade mispricing… that kind of not-so-sexy transaction. Illicit capital flows involve money that is illegally earned or utilized “and covers all unrecorded private financial outflows that drive the accumulation of foreign assets by residents in contravention of applicable capital controls and regulatory frameworks,” says Emirates 24-7.

According to GFI, developing countries lost roughly $6.5 trillion in illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2008. The Middle East and North Africa region saw a real growth of illicit flows over the nine year period of 24 percent, with the Gulf losing more than $1 trillion. In fact, no fewer than six Gulf countries make the top 10 countries for lost money. Here’s the top 10 in full so you can see for yourself, along with how much every country lost in the period:

1. China $2.18 trillion

2. Russia $427 billion

3. Mexico $416 billon

4. Saudi Arabia $302 billion

5. Malaysia $291 billion

6. United Arab Emirates $276 billion

7. Kuwait $242 billion

8. Venezuela $157 billion

9. Qatar $138 billion

10. Nigeria $130 billion



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