Speakers pull out of Obiang charity bash
Bill Clinton sits on the board of directors of a US charity that has controversially decided to hold its prestigious biennial "human rights" conference on the home territory of one of Africa's most corrupt dictators.
The former US President is listed as
“honorary chairman” of the Leon H Sullivan Foundation on the most recent
documents it filed with the American tax authorities. According to the
paperwork, he spends two hours each week working for the organisation.
Clinton’s ties to the charity came under scrutiny at the weekend, after The Independent reported that its ninth “Sullivan Summit” was to be hosted this month in Equatorial Guinea by the country’s notoriously kleptocratic president, Teodoro Obiang.
Human rights groups dubbed the event “the equivalent of organising a conference on free speech in North Korea.” In the 33 years since he seized power, Obiang has rigged elections, imprisoned political opponents, and illegally enriched himself to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Obiang and his family is currently facing prosecution in the US, France, and Spain. The US authorities describe them as criminals. And on Friday, the French government seized a Paris mansion the Obiangs have allegedly purchased using the proceeds of corruption.
Despite this track record, the Sullivan Foundation has refused to discuss its decision to allow Obiang host the Summit, and has not replied to emails asking whether it, or its directors, will benefit financially from the event.
After The Independent’s report on the Summit was published, it emerged that John Hope Bryant, one of its keynote speakers, had withdrawn. His motives are unclear.
It has also emerged that every mention of Mr Clinton’s chairmanship of the Sullivan Foundation was recently removed from its website. That has prompted speculation that Clinton – who, according to the November tax forms, is also a trustee of the Foundation – is attempting to downplay or conceal his role.
Mr Clinton’s office did not respond to The Independent’s queries yesterday. Aly Ramji, a spokesman for the Sullivan Foundation, refused to discuss why all mentions the former President’s chairmanship had disappeared from its website.
That isn’t good enough for the Human Rights Foundation, one of several pressure groups calling for the Summit to be canceled. Its founder, Thor Halvorssen, urged him to urgently clarify his role. “Mr Clinton’s wife is US Secretary of State," he said. "It seems perplexing that he would allow himself to be so closely associated with a vile dictator.”
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Oscar Pistorius trial: The week he went from a hero of his nation and the world, to a gun-loving hothead
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Malaysia Airlines plane: Oil slick is first sign that missing flight crashed into sea killing up to 239 on board
International Women's Day 2014: Cherie Blair - ‘Today is a chance to see how far we still have to go’
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...