WikiLeaks: Morocco's royal palace involved in widespread corruption
Dec 3, 2010, 12:44 GMT
Madrid - Corruption allegedly reaches the highest levels in Morocco, where the business interests of King Mohammed VI and some of his advisors influence 'every large housing project,' according to WikiLeaks documents quoted by the daily El Pais on Friday.
Some of the king's associates showed a 'shameful gluttony' in their attempts to increase their fortunes, a former US ambassador to Morocco is quoted as saying in the leaked US diplomatic cables.
Also, the royal palace itself used the state machinery to obtain business and collect bribes, a US diplomat quoted an entrepreneur as telling him in 2009.
Even though corrupt practices existed already under King Mohammed's father Hassan II, they had become 'more institutional' after Mohammed acceded to the throne in 1999, the entrepreneur said.
The documents released by the whistleblower website also quote the case of a businessman working for a US consortium, whose plans in Morocco were paralysed for months after he refused to join forces with a company linked with the royal palace.
Decisions on big investments in the kingdom were taken by only three people, the documents quote one of the executives of a company belonging to the royal family as saying.
The three are the king, his secretary Mounir Majidi, and the monarch's close friend, the politician Fouad Ali Himma, the executive said at a meeting with potential investors in a Gulf country.
The corruption affects especially the housing sector, the WikiLeaks documents show.
Spanish daily El Pais was one of five newspapers to gain advance access to secret US diplomatic documents published by WikiLeaks.