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Holder to the World: ‘Corruption can be overcome’

Here’s an excerpt from Attorney General Eric Holder’s remarks Monday at the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery in Morocco.

                       *     *     *

In recent years, we’ve joined hands to draft and bring into force the United Nations Convention Against Corruption – the first global anti-corruption treaty. That treaty was a critical part of a record of groundbreaking transnational cooperation on issues ranging from anticorruption to counterterrorism; from cyber security, to judicial reform, to intellectual property enforcement. And more recently – as the world has watched the winds of change sweep across this region – we responded by coming together in Doha last year to convene the first Arab Forum on Asset Recovery.

As we’ve all seen – and as President Obama has said – “[t]he struggle against corruption is one of the great struggles of our time.”  Fortunately – thanks in part to the work of leaders like you – corruption is no longer widely seen as an accepted cost of doing business.  It is no longer tolerated as an unavoidable aspect of government. On the contrary – it is now generally understood that the consequences of corruption are devastating – eroding trust in public and private institutions, undermining confidence in the fairness of free and open markets, siphoning precious resources at a time when they could hardly be more scarce, and all too often breeding contempt for the rule of law.

What makes this understanding remarkable is that it is accompanied, this week, by significant optimism: that corruption, despite its destructive power, can be overcome. That it is possible to make the progress we seek, and that our citizens deserve. And that our respective nations and governments have not only acceded to this recognition – we’ve summoned the political and institutional will to take a firm stand.


Attorney General Holder’s full remarks are here.

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