| The dismal science|
“”The Bank has already delivered more than $40 billion in debt relief to 30 of these countries...thanks to this, countries like Ghana can provide micro-credit to farmers, build classrooms for their children, and fund water and sanitation projects for the poor. Yet the activities of vulture funds threaten to undermine such efforts... the strategies adopted by vulture funds divert much needed debt relief away from the poorest countries on earth and into the bank accounts of the wealthy."
|—Danny Leipziger, World Bank Vice President, 2007|
Vulture[note 1] fund is the popular nickname for a type of profiteering aimed at impoverished countries.
Circling the carcass
Vulture fund investors set up a private equity fund for the sole purpose of literally robbing from the poor and giving to the rich. A typical modus operandi of vulture fund operators is as follows:
- A group of investors purchases the debt of an impoverished nation that is on the verge of monetary collapse.
- The investors then wait for the United States and/or other wealthy nations to send humanitarian (monetary) aid to that country.
- The investors then sue said impoverished nation in an effort to force that nation to hand over the humanitarian aid as payment.
On 8 April 2010, the United Kingdom became the first country to limit the amount that vulture funds can collect. Under the new law, vulture funds cannot collect payments that the World Bank deems unsustainable.
On September 9, 2014, the United Nations voted on a treaty for a new process to deal with bankruptcy of sovereign nations. The vote passed 124-11 in favor, with 41 abstentions. This resolution has been lauded as "historic" due to the UN finally taking measures to protect nations from predatory vulture funds.
Participants in vulture funds
- Apollo Global Management
- Paul Singer
- "From New York to Liberia, Investigative Journalist Greg Palast Tracks Vulture Funds Preying on African Debt" Includes 46 minute video.
- Sorry for comparing you to crooks, dear birdie!
- "Let's Stop Vulture Funds From Preying on the Poor"
- Croft, Adrian. "New law limits claims by vulture funds", Reuters UK website, posted 8 April 2010, accessed 10 April 2010.
- International "UN Votes for Process to Enact Bankruptcy Treaty and Stop Vulture Funds", 2014