The Sophie Prize 2012
is awarded to
for fighting a culture of greediness which creates social and environmental problems
Eva Joly (1943) is awarded the Sophie Prize 2012 for her tireless and fearless work against economic crime and corruption, and for her vision of a sustainable, equitable society.
Joly headed the biggest corruption case of the 1990s, Elf Aquaitaine. She is a strong critic of an economic system that creates social and environmental problems, but moves beyond mere criticism in proposing solutions and seeking arenas where her lifelong experiences and ideas can be moulded into real politics. In 2009 she was elected member of the European Parliament, where she is Chair of the Committee on Development. Joly currently runs for French Presidency for the environmental party, Green-Europe-Ecology.
Economic crime and corruption is harmful to sustainable development. Annually trillions of dollars that could have been spent on global public goods are hidden in secrecy jurisdictions or tax havens. Much of these flows originate from developing and transitional economies. Africa, with its large natural resource base, is highly vulnerable to capital flight and tax evasion. Today more capital leaves Africa than enters through e.g. aid flows and debt relief programmes.
Joly highlights how the expanded use of tax havens as a means of tax evasion, denies funding and resources to developing and transitional economies and labels it “a modern form of colonialism”. The use of tax havens also harms rich countries and is considered to be a significant factor behind the financial crisis. “Without tax havens there would be no problem in the in the Euro Zone. It’s an unforgivable weakness of Europe”, Joly says.
Her crusade to fight corruption and economic crime has caused personal sacrifices. Joly faces death threats and entails an everyday life surrounded by life guards. But in spite of the real dangers involved, Joly has never given up fighting for her moral convictions. She has continued her fight against economic crime and corruption on a global scale, and is a source of inspiration for corruption hunters and anti-corruption networks around the world.
Through a long list of published books she has shared her knowledge, ideas and experience. Among these books are “Plan for a better world” (2004), where she gives her views on development assistance, globalisation and the fight against poverty and “Justice under Siege” (2006), bringing the readers on a journey into the world of the global financial mafia. In February “Sans Tricher” (2012) was published in France.
“I thought that if I told people – writing books, giving interviews – the world would change. I thought it was only because people didn’t know. And then I think the most terrible thing is that, even when things are said, they don’t change. Then I thought that I must become a politician and really express these concerns”, says Joly.
As politician Joly continues her fight against corruption and economic crime. But Joly widens the approach. She highlights the needs for, and the benefits gained by, creating a green economy.
Today’s economic system is at odds with the limits set by nature. Joly’s solutions are characterized by a holistic understanding of how a green economy, free from corruption and economic speculation, may be an economic, social and environmental sustainable path.
Such solutions are urgently needed.
Again Eva Joly bravely stands out as a leading source of inspiration.