STORY UPDATE (8/17) — In response to The Haitian Times request for comment on the original story, Citigroup did not directly address the specific demand by protesters to return the “stolen gold” to Haiti. It provided the following background based on its records.

Citi performed a search of our historical archives, and we found that:

  • Citi’s initial investment in Haiti began in 1910 when the National City Bank of New York (NCBNY) purchased 10% of the shares of a consortium comprised of French, American and German banks led by the French corporation Banque de l’Union Parisienne. 
  • The Haitian government and the consortium signed a new contract of concession for the creation of a new state bank known as the Banque Nationale de la République d'Haiti (BNRH), which began operations in 1911.
  • In 1919, the National City Company (NCC) (an affiliate of NCBNY) signed an option agreement with the Banque de l'Union Parisienne to purchase the assets of BNRH.
  • In 1922, NCBNY began to oversee the Banque Nationale de la Republique d’Haiti under a Haitian charter. NCBNY sold the Banque Nationale de la Republique d’Haiti with its twelve offices to the Government of Haiti in 1935.
  • Thirty-six years later, Citi returned to Haiti, opening a fully owned branch of Citibank N.A., New York in Port-au-Prince in 1971.
  • For more than 50 years, Citi has been committed to the economic, social and cultural development of Haiti, offering quality financial services and proactively engaging with the community through its social responsibility programs.

Citi also shared that through the Citi Foundation, it works with the Haiti Education and Leadership Program to help prepare students for the workforce, has sponsored other projects, including pledging US$ 2 million in support of earthquake recovery efforts and offers financial services to nearly 50 companies that do business in Haiti.

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Leonardo March is Brooklyn-based visual journalist from Puerto Rico and a Report for America corps member

Leonardo can be reached at Leonardo@haitiantimes.com