Monday, June 29, 2009

Maxine Waters Introduces Bill to Combat Vulture Funds

From Congo Global Action, I am alerted to this press release:

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the Stop Very Unscrupulous Loan Transfers from Underprivileged countries to Rich, Exploitive Funds or “Stop VULTURE Funds” Act (H.R. 2932), legislation designed to protect impoverished countries from lawsuits by so-called vulture funds.

Congresswoman Waters said, “Over the past year, we have seen how the actions of a small number of unscrupulous and exploitative investors can hurt innocent people and cause economic chaos. We cannot allow the world’s poorest countries to be exploited by these bad actors.”

Vulture funds are private investment funds that buy up the debts of poor countries at reduced prices, usually for pennies on the dollar. They then sue these countries to recover the original value of the debts plus interest. Several poor countries that have received debt cancellation from the United States, other participating donor countries, and multilateral financial institutions have subsequently been sued by vulture funds.

Congresswoman Waters said, “The Stop VULTURE Funds Act would protect impoverished countries from the predatory practices of vulture funds and allow these countries to use their limited resources to meet the needs of their people.”

UPDATE: A similar bill has been introduced in Britain. Leading the cause is the British NGO Jubilee Debt.

It would be easier to throw oneself into fighting for these campaigns if one felt the money the vulture funds were after would really be going to feed babies and equip schools, rather than line pliticians' pockets.

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