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Independent’s report on the Summit was published, it emerged that John Hope Bryant, one of its keynote speakers, had withdrawn.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.”
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
World news in pictures
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 Amir Khan interview: 'One second could end my boxing career'
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...