LHR and Open Secrets in Court Today defending the right to access apartheid records
Belgium’s Kredietbank (now known as KBC Group) and its sister bank in Luxembourg (KBL) are responsible for facilitating illicit money flows (like money laundering) that allowed the apartheid regime to secretly buy weapons despite mandatory arms sanctions introduced by the United Nations in the 1970s and 1980s. These weapons were essential in enabling domestic repression, and in the apartheid state’s wars and attempts to destabilise other governments and liberation movements in Southern Africa. Not only was the banks’ assistance vital to keeping the apartheid government in power, but they also profited from these transactions – building their companies on the suffering of millions of people. Apartheid was not only evil in practice, but had been declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations.
The culture of impunity for corruption and economic crime in SA didn’t start with state capture or the arms deal. Evidence shows that large international financial institutions made billions of rand worth of profit from economic crimes during apartheid.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommended prosecutions for such crimes but so far we have seen no action or substantive reparations for the victims of apartheid.