Monday, May 13, 2013

International Finance Corporation and Deutsche Bank bankrolling Vietnamese land grabs in Cambodia and Laos

Global Witness: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Deutsche Bank are financing Vietnamese rubber companies driving a wave of land and forest "grabs" in Cambodia and Laos, according to a new report and film by Global Witness.

The report, “Rubber Barons”, reveals how a pervasive culture of secrecy around plantation investments in the region has allowed two of Vietnam’s largest companies, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and the state-owned Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), to acquire more than 200,000 hectares of land through a series of deals with the Lao and Cambodian governments that lack transparency.

It details how these rubber giants, with close links to the region’s notoriously corrupt political elites, operate with complete impunity, devastating local livelihoods and the environment in the process. Deutsche Bank has significant holdings in both companies, while the IFC invests in HAGL.

“We’ve known for some time that corrupt politicians in Cambodia and Laos are orchestrating the land grabbing crisis that is doing so much damage in the region. This report completes the picture by exposing the pivotal role of Vietnam’s rubber barons and their financiers, Deutsche Bank and the IFC,” said Megan MacInnes, Head of the Land Team at Global Witness. “Both companies are having severe impacts on the human rights of ordinary Lao and Cambodian citizens.  Often, the first time people learn of a plantation is when the company bulldozers arrive to clear their farms.”...


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