The term “corruption” simply refers to the misuse of public power by a person or organization, entrusted with a position of authority, for their personal gain. Corruption, which occurs both in the private and public sectors of a nation, can take several forms. These include bribery, embezzlement, theft, nepotism, and many more. Although corruption occurs everywhere, it’s most common among leaders and politicians. Speaking of political corruption, it has been around for a long while and has now taken over in several countries of the world. That said, here’s the list of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world of all time.
List of Top 10 Most Corrupt Politicians In The World
1- Mohamed Suharto ($15 – 35 Billion)
Mohamed Suharto occupies the first position on our top 10 list of the most corrupt politicians in the world. Suharto, born on June 8, 1921, was an Indonesian military leader and the former president of Indonesia. In 1967, he assumed office as the acting vice president of the country. After a year, he was elected as the President of Indonesia. Due to the limited political parties in the country at that time, Suharto was re-elected every five years until 1998. He was forced to resign after the collapse of Indonesia’s economy in 1997, which triggered widespread rioting. After that, the country was able to set up a government corruption investigation. In 2000, Suharto was charged with corruption of about $15 to 35 billion and placed on house arrest. However, due to health reasons, the charges were later dismissed.
2- Ferdinand Marcos ($5 – 10 Billion)
Ferdinand Marcos, born on September 11, 1917, sits on the second spot on the list of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world. He was the tenth President of the Philippines, and served from 1965 to 1986. In 1972, he started ruling as a dictator under the martial law, until 1981. Marcos’ rule was popular for its corruption and misuse of power. According to reports, Marcos stole about $5 – 10 billion during his reign as the president of the Philippines.
3- Mobutu Sese Seko ($5 Billion)
Next on the list of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world is Mobutu Sese Seko. He was the President of Zaire for about 32 years. Mobutu assumed the office in 1965 and ruled the country until 1997. It was Laurent Kabila-led rebel forces that expelled him from the country. According to several reports, Mobutu stole about $5 billion during his rule, which many people called kleptocracy.
4- Sani Abacha ($2 – 5 Billion)
Sani Abacha, born on September 20, 1943, was a military general and the former military head of state of Nigeria. All thanks to a coup, he assumed office in 1993 and ruled the country until his death in 1998. According to reports, Abacha stole about $2 – 5 billion during his kleptocracy tenure, making him one of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world. So far, Nigeria has been able to recover some of the stolen funds in some countries where Abacha kept it. In May 2020, the country recovered about $311 million from the US, Jersey. Furthermore, Nigeria has also recently recovered about €5.5 million out of the stolen money from Ireland.
5- Slobodan Milosevic ($1 Billion)
Next, on our list of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world is Slobodan Milosevic. He became the president of Serbia in 1989 and served for eight straight years. In 1997, Serbia barred him from going for the third term as the president of the country. Since he was also a political leader in Yugoslavia, he contested and became the 3rd president of the country. The ruled Yugoslavia from July 1997 to October 2000. In 2001, he was arrested and charged with corruption and abuse of power. According to reports, Slobodan stole about $1 billion during his tenure. Unfortunately, he passed away during his trial period in 2006.
6- Jean-Claude Duvalier ( About $800 Million)
Jean-Claude Duvalier (‘Baby Doc’), born on July 3, 1951, is the forty-first President of Haiti. He assumed the office at the age of 19, after the death of his father François Duvalier, who also served as the president of the country. He ruled Haiti from 1971 until 1986 before fleeing into exile in France. That’s because of the anti-government demonstrations in the country at that time, which overturned his regime. In 2011, after returning to Haiti from exile, the country charged him with corruption. Unfortunately, he died in 2014, putting an end to the charges against him.
7- Alberto Fujimori ($600 Million)
Alberto Fujimori occupies the seventh spot on our list of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world. That’s because he reportedly stole an estimated fraud value of $600 million during his tenure as President. Speaking of his political career, he was the president of Peru between 1990 and 2000. According to reports, many people accused Fujimori of corruption during his so-called autocratic rule. Apart from that, they also criticized him for the suppression of opposition voices.
8- Pavlo Lazarenko ($114 – 200 Million)
Sitting on the eighth spot on the list of top 10 most corrupt politicians in the world is Pavlo Lazarenko. In case you don’t know, he was the Prime Minister of Ukraine between 1996 and 1997. In 2006, he was arrested and jailed in the US for wire fraud and money laundering. According to the United Nations, Pavlo stole about $200 million during his tenure as prime minister of Ukraine.
9- Arnoldo Alemán ($100 Million)
Arnoldo Alemán, born on January 23, 1946, served as the 81st President of Nicaragua. He assumed the office in January 2007, ruling the country for five years. In 2003, the country charged him with corruption and sentenced him to prison for 20 years. According to reports, he stole about $100 million, making him the ninth most corrupt politicians in the world.
10- Joseph Estrada ($80 Million)
Last on our top 10 list of the most corrupt politicians in the world is Joseph Estrada. Speaking of his political career, Estrada served as the 13th president of the Philippines. He assumed the office in 1998, ruling the country until 2001. Furthermore, he was also the ninth Vice President of the country from 1992 to 1998, before becoming the president. According to reports, Estrada was already a corrupt politician before becoming the president of the Philippines. Also, several people accused him of collecting about $80 million in bribes and other corrupt dealings, during his tenure.