Illicit Financial Flows from the Least Developed Countries: 1990-2008

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Appendix III

Table 4: Cumulative Illicit Outflows (Non-normalized) from LDCs by Structural Characteristics*, 1990-2008,

millions of U.S. dollars




Percentage Distributions



within group

within total LDCs*

Structural Characteristic








Landlocked (LL)








Small Island (SI)








Neither LL nor SI








Total LDCs*








* - The 17 countries for which CED calculations were estimated using GDP are not included in this table

1 For details on Global Financial Integrity’s Policy Advisory Program reference the link

2 This Discussion Paper has been commissioned by the UNDP as a contribution to the United Nation’s IV conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Istanbul, Turkey in May 2011. The UNDP warmly welcomes feedback from interested stakeholders on any aspect of the research and conclusions drawn. It has been written by Dev Kar, formerly a Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who is now the Lead Economist at Global Financial Integrity (GFI), Center for International Policy. The author would like to thank UNDP for their interest in furthering the public policy debate on this issue and for finally supporting this research. He would also like to thank Karly Curcio, who was an Economist at GFI, for excellent research assistance, Abbas Akhtar and Thomas Buller, staff interns for assistance with the charts and tables, and Raymond Baker and other staff at GFI for helpful comments. Thanks are also due to Gail Hurley, Anga Timilsina, and Phil Matsheza of the UNDP for their helpful comments and suggestions on the first draft. Any errors that remain are the author’s responsibility.

3 The IMF is helping member countries combat illicit financial flows (reference IMF Press Release No. 10/82 dated March 12, 2010;; for a comprehensive definition of illicit flows see Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2006, Dev Kar and Devon Cartwright-Smith, December 2008, Global Financial Integrity, Washington DC.

4 United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Keeping the promise: United to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, October 19, 2010.

5 For further information, see: UNOHRLLS,

6 For more details, refer to: UNOHRLLS, Criteria for Identification of LDCs:

8 Reference The Absorption of Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2006, Dev Kar, Devon Cartwright-Smith, and Ann Hollingshead, Global Financial Integrity, April 2010.

9 See, for example, External Debt and Capital Flight in the Indian Economy, Niranjan Chipalkatti and Meenakshi Rishi, Oxford Development Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2001 and Congo’s Odious debt: External Borrowing and Capital Flight in Zaire, Leonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce, Development and Change, Vol. 29 (1998).

10 Reference, Changing Customs: Challenges and Strategies for the Reform of Customs Administration, Editor Michael Keen, International Monetary Fund, 2003. See also, Policies, Enforcement, and Customs Evasion: Evidence from India, Prachi , Mishra, Arvind Subramanian, and Peter Topalova, IMF Research Department, Working Paper No. WP/07/60, March 2007, International Monetary Fund.

11 Keen (2003) oOp. cit., Page 8 and Box 1. 1, page 9.

12 Reference Capital Flight from the Countries in Transition: Some Empirical Evidence, Nathan Sheets, Journal of Economic Policy Reform, January 1996.

13 Reference An Empirical Study on the transfer of black money from India: 1948-2008, Dev Kar, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 46, No. 15, April 9-15, 2011. See also, Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System, Raymond W. Baker, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005.

14 Reference, Capitalism’s Achille’s Heel:Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free Market System, Raymond Baker, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005, page 243.

15 Reference Shadow Economies All over the World: New Estimates from 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007, Friedrich Schneider, Andreas Buehn, Claudio E. Montenegro, Polic Research Working Paper No. 5356, Development Research Group, World Bank, July 2010. See also, The Size of Shadow Economies in 145 Countries from 1999 to 2003, Friedrich Schneider, Brown Journal of Economics, Vol. XI, Issue 2, Winter/Spring 2005.

16 Reference, Tax Havens and development: Status, Analysis and Measures, 2009

17 Reference Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Tax Compliance: Staff Report, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, United States Senate Hearing, July 17, 2008.

18 Reference Measuring Capital Flight: A Case Study of Mexico, Harald Eggerstedt, Rebecca Brideau Hall, and Sweder van Wijnbergen, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. WPS 1121, March 1993, Section 2.3, pp. 8-11.

19 See, for example, Illegal Transactions in International Trade, Jagdish N. Bhawati (Editor), North-Holland/American Elsevier, 1974.

20 See, for example, Trade Mispricing and Illicit Flows, Volker Nitsch, paper prepared for a World Bank conference on The Dynamics of Illicit Flows from Developing Countries, September 14-15, 2009.

21 Reference, Keen (2003), oOp. cit., footnote 10.9.

22 See Appendix I for details on methodology. The balance of payments leakages are estimated based on the World Bank Residual Model using change in external stimated debt (CED) as a source of funds. These estimates are then adjusted for trade mispricing involving mplying illicit outflows only which is the gross excluding reversals (GER) method.

23 Note that of the partial data reporters listed in Appendix III, Table 1, six countries have only reported data for a few years during the period 1990-2008 so that they could not be ranked or analyzed.

24 The paper does not provide estimates of illicit flows to ODA ratios by country because such estimates are misleading for many LDCs due to missing or incomplete data needed to estimate illicit flows.

25 Reference Trends in International Cooperation and Net Resource Transfers to Developing Countries, Krishnalekha Sood, World Institute for Development Economics Research, The United Nations University, 1995.

26 Changes in reserve assets are netted out of the financial accounts balance so that a positive financial account balance would represent a net receipt (payment) of financial resources by LDCs from) the rest of the world, while a negative financial account balance will denote an outward transfer of financial resources from LDCs to the rest of the world.

27 Reference The Drivers and Dynamics of Illicit Financial Flows from India: 1948-2008, Dev Kar, Global Financial Integrity, November 2010.

28 Reference, Good Governance: The IMF’s Role, International Monetary Fund, August 1997. A more recent study, Do IMF Programs Improve Economic Governance?, Jiro Honda, IMF Working Paper WP/08/114, May 2008, found statistically robust results that IMF concessional programs through the PRGF tend to enhance the rule of law and strengthen control of corruption. Reference also the link in footnote 1 on GFI’s Policy Advisory Program.

29 Reference, The Role of the Fund in Governance Issues—Guidance Note, EBS/97/125, July 2, 1997.

30 Reference, Review of the 2002 Conditionality Guidelines—Selected Issues, International Monetary Fund, March 2005.

31 Reference Corruption Around the World: Causes, Consequences, Scope, and Cures, Vito Tanzi, IMF Staff Papers, Vol. 45, December 1998 and reprinted in Governance, Corruption, and Economic Performance, George T. Abed and Sanjeev Gupta, Editors, International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC, 2002.

32 The hawala system system is one of the informal funds transfer (IFT) systems that exist under different names in various regions of the world. For details on how the system operates and could be regulated, see Regulatory Frameworks For Hawala and Other Remittance Systems, Monetary and Financial Systems Department. International Monetary Fund Washington, DC, 2005. See, for example, Underground Banking: Legitimate Remittance Network or Money Laundering System?, Rob McCusker, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Government, No. 300, July 2005, for an analysis of the link between trade mispricing and hawala transactions.

33 Reference oOp. cit., Keen IMF (2003), footnote 109.

34 The author was directly involved in formulating a governance-related structural conditionality involving the Customs, Excises, and Preventive Service (CEPS) of Ghana under the IMF’s Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility. The conditionality was a prior action before the progam could be implemented; reference Ghana—Staff Report for the 1999 Article IV Consultation, First Review Under the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility, and Request for Wwaiver of Performance Criteria, EBS/99/200, November 5, 1999, International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC.

35 Reference Eight Session of the ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance, Economic Commission for Africa, Finance for development in Africa: An Issues Paper (E/ECA/ESPD/Cm.8/2000/1, November 21-22, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).

36 Reference Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2006, Dev Kar and Deon Cartwright-Smith, Global Financial Integrity, Washington, D.C., December 2008 for details on the IPPS.

37 See, for example, The Role of Trasfer Pricing in Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries, Carlos A. Leiti, paper presented at a World Bank Seminar on Illicit Financial Flows, September 14-15, 2009.

38 Reference Lessons from the Real-Time Assessments of Structural Conditionality, Box 2 (Conditionality on Governance), Approved by Timothy Geithner, Policy Development and Review Department, IMF, March 20, 2002.

39 See, for example, Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2000-2009, Update with a Focus on Asia (Dev Kar and Karly Curcio, Global Financial Integrity, January 2011, Washington DC). The methodological details presented here are taken largely from this and earlier GFI studies.

40 Reference, for example, Capital Flight and Capital Controls in Developing Countries, Edited by Gerald A. Epstein, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northhampton, MA, USA, for a wider discussion of rund-tripping in the context of China.

41 Reference, The Drivers and Dynamics of Illicit Financial Flows from India: 1948-2008, Dev Kar, Global Financial Integrity, Washington, DC, November 2010.

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