A US Senate Committee found that the World Bank and US government institutions financed “questionable payments” by Enron for a Guatemalan power project. In 1993 Enron built an electricity generating plant near Puerto Quetzal and sold the power to a government-sponsored utility. The project was partially financed by an IFC loan of $71 million. In an effort to conceal taxable income from Guatemalan authorities, payments were disguised as “add-on fuel charges” and re-routed to a bank account in Miami. Researchers for the Institute of Policy Studies have uncovered numerous allegations of fraud and corruption around Bank-financed Enron projects in Bolivia and Nigeria.
The IMF and the World Bank are increasingly engaged with the challenge of addressing how tax avoidance and evasion affect developing countries, but need to address the role played by multinational enterprises and tax havens in exacerbating inequality and undermining countries’ domestic revenues.
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