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Vol 48 No 15

Published 20th July 2007


Can't pay, won't pay

Bad old debts reveal the gap between what Congo owes and what its leaders hide

The pursuit of repayments from the poorest economies has made the debt-collection agencies known as 'vulture funds' a target for antipoverty campaigners. These firms buy up debts at knockdown prices from lenders who cannot get their money back because the borrowers are unable or unwilling to repay them. The original sum borrowed is often inflated by interest that has accrued with the delay. This business has, incidentally, exposed the underside of some presidential financial arrangements.

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