Oil wealth 'must be shared' with citizens says Soros

George Soros: Middle East turmoil caused by 'revulsion against the corruption'

Citizens of oil producing nations must see more benefit from their country's national resources, billionaire investor George Soros has told the BBC.

Revolts in Libya were partly the result of "revulsion against a corruption" fed by the misuse of oil money, he added.

More "transparency and accountability" was needed from other producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia he said.

Mr Soros also predicted the Iranian regime would be overthrown in the "bloodiest of the revolutions".

'Rebelled'

Libya produces 1.6 million barrels of oil per day and is the 17th largest producer in the world.

And Colonel Gaddafi's hold on power has been dependent on the billions of dollars in oil revenue that pour into the country.

Talking of the wave of governments being challenged in North Africa and the Middle East, Mr Soros said: "What has caused the revolutions is a revulsion against a corruption that is fed by the misuse of natural resources like for instance in Libya.

"Transparency and even more importantly accountability in the use of natural resources is what you need for people living in those countries to get the benefit of those national resources.

"Libya produced enormous wealth which Gaddafi took as his own and now the people rebelled against it."

'Tremendous improvement'

Asked whether there should be more transparency with what happened to oil incomes, Mr Soros said: "Very much so."

And he said the US and Europe needed to more actively support the revolutions in Libya and elsewhere so that the new regimes will co-operate with the West.

"What is happening today in the Middle East is very similar to what happened in the former Soviet Union in 1989-91. But then it was a regime hostile to the West that was destroyed by the revolution," he said.

"Now it is regimes supported by the West, so the West has to regain the allegiance of the people in those countries by actually supporting the transition to democracy.

"It's very important that Europe and the US should be in front of the revolution rather than behind it because if they are behind it, they are going to lose the allegiance of the new regimes that are emerging and if they are properly supported they will be democratic regimes and it will be a tremendous improvement."

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