Watch the BBC Newsnight investigative report at the BBC Newsnight website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/6370385.stm) -- or at Democracy Now! with Palast and Amy Goodman. (http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/15/1528209)
"Vulture fund" companies buy up the debt of poor countries at cheap prices, and then demand payments much higher than the original amount of the debt, often taking poor countries to court when they cannot afford to repay.
Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on one company that has won the right to collect $20 million from the government of Zambia after buying its debt for $4 million. In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush declared the United States was taking on the challenges of global hunger, poverty and disease, and urged support for debt relief, which he called the best hope for eliminating poverty.
But what exactly are wealthy nations doing to reduce the debt of impoverished countries?
Today we take a close look at companies known as "vulture funds." Vulture fund companies buy up the debt of poor countries at cheap prices, and then demand payments much higher than the original amount of the debt, often taking poor countries to court when they cannot afford to repay.
For an in-depth look at this issue, we turn to a BBC Newsnight documentary by investigative reporter Greg Palast. Greg Palast's BBC report on vulture funds. Today a high court judge in London ruled on the case that a vulture fund can extract more than $20 million from Zambia for a debt which it bought for just $4 million. To tell us more about this case and more we now turn to Greg Palast.
Greg Palast. Investigative reporter for the BBC on this story is author of the books "Armed Madhouse", "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" and "Democracy and Regulation."
The BBC Newsnight report was produced by Meirion Jones, BBC London; Rick Rowley, videographer/editor. Investigative research by Matt Pascarella, New York.