Thought up as part of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic immunity enables ambassadors to work unhindered in foreign and often hostile states. As a principle, a degree of protection for those engaged in politics and diplomacy is vital. Unfortunately, it’s also one that has seen more abuse than Becker’s rackets and liver combined.
According to the former tennis superstar, he became the Central Republic of Africa (CAR)’s cultural and sport attaché in April of this year, making him entitled to this protection; one which he has not hesitated to put to work to try to avoid paying an undisclosed amount of money to a private bank. But CAR officials trashed Becker’s claim of holding a diplomatic position stating his diplomatic passport was one of a batch stolen in 2014!
The case of Jamil Al Sayyed
Jamil Al Sayyed, a Hezbollah activist and former Lebanese military official, managed a diplomatic position as Marshall Island’s delegation to UNESCO in 2014. His diplomatic position was revoked months later when a LeFigaro journalist suggested that Jamil Al Sayyed’s diplomatic appointment was illegal. But later he managed to reinstate his position as a member of the Lebanese parliament.
The case of Madina Khrapunov
Madina Khrapunov and her husband Ilyas Khrapunov, wanted for a litany of financial crimes spanning three continents – obtained diplomatic posts representing the Central African Republic in Geneva. After his family was accused of stealing billions from Kazakhstan’s national bank, Ilyas Khrapunov embarked on a globe-trotting escape comparable only to that of Leonardo Di Caprio in Catch Me if You Can. During this trip, he made a few customary stops, including one in the US, where he allegedly laundered money through a dubious condos project. Having had his Kazakh citizenship revoked, the international kleptocrat of the century misinterpreted the legal proceeding against him as political persecution. But, such pretense could not rescue him from the billions of dollars he owed to banks and nations around the world.
The case of Arkadi Gaydama
International arms dealer, convicted money launderer Arkadi Gaydama managed Angolan diplomatic position.
As an international arms dealer and convicted money launderer, the fact that an individual like Gaydamak can wield any power in the sphere of international politics is a good analogy for the state of the world; it isn’t great. Unfortunately, the Angolan government didn’t share this sentiment and awarded Gaydamak a diplomatic passport in the 1990s as a thank you for facilitating arms deals during the country’s civil war. In the early 2000’s, this appointment paid off and the Angolan president of the time saved Gaydamak from fraud charges. Unfortunately for the arms dealer, this deal was no longer on the table in 2015 when France sentenced him to a prison term for tax evasion.
The case of Ali Reza Monfared
According to information on the global media, Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian oil sanction evader, bought a diplomatic passport from Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. Monfared is accused of embezzlement of billions of dollars from the proceeds of the illegal sale.
In addition to massive theft of Iranian government profits, Monfared defrauded Malaysian businesses, defaulted on payment of his debts there, and used his Dominica diplomatic passport to evade a Malaysian arrest warrant.
So long as the Commonwealth of Dominica sells its patrimony by accepting cash from career criminals for diplomatic passports, the reputation of those countries will continue to suffer; North American and EU banks will expand their de-risking policies, due to the existence of the proceeds of corruption, bribes and kickbacks, Country Risk for Dominica will remain elevated, with no relief in sight. It is on the way to becoming, like Haiti, a failed state, so long as corruption is the order of the day.
To be continued …