Source: Le Monde

By Joan Tilouine Published on February 13, 2015, modified on August 19, 2019

HSBC has customers as far away as Asmara.

A closed and opaque country, ruled with an iron fist by Issayas Afewerki, a figure in the war of independence who became president, Eritrea nevertheless has some strange millionaires.

In 1981, Hassen Abdalla Beshir, then 24 years old, opened an account at HSBC in Geneva as a “banker”.

Eritrea was then in the midst of war. Six years later, a certain Ghebreselassi Kidane Habte, 37, did the same.

According to documents accessed by Le Monde Afrique, the latter, who presents himself at HSBC as a “car driver”, domiciled in Asmara, has more than 106 million dollars in 2007 while Hassen Abdalla Beshir, the “banker”, has more than 209 million.

No information is available on these two characters, in a country that Amnesty International describes as “a huge detention center, where citizens prisoners of their own country are regularly rounded up by the army, forced to work for an engulfed state by the party.”