Independence Federal Savings Bank
Independence Federal Savings Bank is a Washington, DC headquartered bank. Its motto is "The Nicest Bank in the World".
Providing banking services for Equatorial Guinea
The government of Equatorial Guinea was forced to close its accounts with scandal-hit Riggs Bank in 2004. According to journalist Ken Silverstein of Harper's Magazine, IFSB has recently begun providing banking services to that country:
- "I recently learned from a well-placed source that, earlier this year, Equatorial Guinea deposited monies at trouble-plagued Independence Federal Savings Bank. Independence opened the account only after it was approached by representatives of the State Department and told that Equatorial Guinea was a friend of the United States and that the bank's help would be appreciated."
- "The State Department declined public comment for this story, but two government officials I spoke with confirmed that the Bush Administration had approached Independence on behalf of Equatorial Guinea. They said there was nothing unusual about the request and that the administration has also helped out other controversial African regimes that have had a hard time finding banking help after the Riggs scandal."
- "Equatorial Guinea's embassy here and an Independence official confirmed that Obiang's regime had opened the account, though both said it was strictly for embassy business. 'We maintain a small account for the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea's operational expenses,' said the bank official, who asked not to be identified. 'As far as we know, it's used for payroll and utility bills and other expenses of that nature. While we obviously won't comment on the size of the account, it's commensurate with the size of an embassy for a country like Equatorial Guinea. These types of accounts are standard, and all embassies must have an account like this to run day-to-day operations.'"
- "My original source said he had no knowledge of how much money was currently in the account, but when he heard about the deal earlier this year, he learned that Equatorial Guinea was planning to make an initial deposit in the range of $6 to $8 million, and that its banking desires went beyond a simple embassy account. One of the government officials I spoke with acknowledged that, despite the Riggs scandal, Independence was free to expand its banking business with Obiang's regime. Independence, he added, was hoping to handle a 'total investment portfolio.'"
- "Equatorial Guinea's relationship with Riggs Bank, it is worth noting, began with the opening of an embassy account in 1996."
1229 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-2617
Phone (202) 628-5500
Fax (202) 626-7106
- Terence O'Hara, "Riggs Bank Agrees to Guilty Plea And Fine. Civil, Criminal Penalties Would Total $41 Million", Washington Post, January 28, 2005.
- Ken Silverstein, "Obiang's Banking Again: State Department and Washington insiders help a dictator get what he wants", Harpers Magazine, August 9, 2006.