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A burned billboard of Congo’s then outgoing President Joseph Kabila in January 2019.

A burned billboard of Congo’s then outgoing President Joseph Kabila in January 2019.

Photographer: Hugh Kinsella Cunningham/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Business
The Big Take

China Cash Flowed Through Congo Bank to Former President’s Cronies

A leak of 3.5 million documents shows how a Chinese-run company moved millions of dollars to former Congo President Joseph Kabila’s family and allies.

The Chinese businessman had walked out of a bank in Kinshasa with 13,624 hundred-dollar bills, 10,001 fifties and 43,000 smaller U.S. notes, despite explicit instructions to prevent it from happening.

“The account has finally been emptied,” Yvon Douhore, head of an in-house audit team in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, wrote in an email that day, July 5, 2018, after noticing the withdrawal. “I’m at a loss for words,” a colleague replied the next day.