Explainers

Top 10 most corrupt presidents of all time

Being the president of your country no doubt comes with a lot of power and access to enormous wealth. This near absolute power takes a lot of discipline not to abuse.

Unfortunately, in the world’s history, there have been a handful of presidents who couldn’t control their gluttony for wealth and amass a significant amount of it by stealing from their own people.

Here are the top 10 most corrupt presidents of all time.

1.Mohamed Suharto


He led Indonesia as an authoritarian regime for 31 years, from the fall of Sukarno in 1967 until his resignation in 1998. Forbes puts him first and According to Transparency International, he embezzled an alleged US$35 billion during his rule. That’s more than the entire GDP of most African countries!

2.Ferdinand Marcos




Forbes list ranks him as no 2. He was a Filipino president for an entire 21 years. During his presidency, he embezzled more than $10 billion and was acquitted in U.S. on embezzlement charges while facing 100 of charges of corruption in his country.

3. Mobutu Sese Seko


No surprises here, he’s the first African leader on this list in a continent that has no shortage of terrible leaders. Forbes placed him third. He was a leader of the Republic of the Congo. It is believed he embezzled a large amount of money, estimates put the figure at roughly $5 billion during his reign of terror (although the exact figure has been debated).

4.Sani Abacha


The former Nigerian dictator was placed at number 4 on the list by Forbes. Abacha wasn’t exactly the most brutal dictator to ever live but he definitely was one of the most corrupt. During his 6 year reign as Nigerian leader, he presided over a period of relative economic growth which allowed him steal between $2 billion and $5 billion, most of which is still being recovered to this day.

5.Slobodan Milosevic


Number 5 on the Forbes list and on Transparency International Global Corruption Report, He embezzled $1 billion during his presidency in Serbia. He then went on to be the president of Yugoslavia for three years.

6.Jean-Claude Duvalier


He was president of Haiti for 15 years. He once had a ‘publicly funded’ $2 million wedding. I the end, luckily for him, He died a free man. He died of a heart attack before the courts had finished with him. He is estimated to have embezzled between $300 million to $800 million.

7.Alberto Fujimori

This dude right here has a somewhat weird and unique story. He is a Japanese-Peruvian statesman, who led Peru from 28 July 1990 until 22 November 2000. His Peruvian presidency ended as he fled for Japan, his resignation was rejected by congress, who preferred to impeach him instead. He Allegedly Embezzled $600m.

8.Pavlo Lazarenko


He is a former Ukrainian politician, who served as Prime Minister from 1996 to 1997. In 2006, the UN released a report in which it alleges he was responsible for the embezzlement of roughly $200 million over his one-year stay as prime minister.

9.Arnoldo Alemán


He was President of Nicaragua from 1997-2009 and allegedly stole $100 million according to Forbes.

10.Joseph Estrada


He was president of the Philippines in the late 90s and early 2000s. He first rose to fame as an actor in films, after a series of corruption allegations, he was impeached by the senate, thus ending his presidency. He Allegedly Embezzled $70 million to $80 million.

Ismaeel

Statistician with interests in finance, risk management, loan products and market surveys. I also write on crypto currencies, Forex and a variety of financial instruments.

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