Where did the $3 billion go?

OPIC is a federal agency that helps U.S. companies invest in developing overseas markets. OPIC chooses from among plans submitted by companies and private investors and finances $3 billion worth of opportunities that don't exist in the regular marketplace, such as providing insurance against political risks or loans for risky, long-term projects. OPIC matches its "private" funds 2-to-1 and often insures the investments against loss. The funds generate a huge profit for OPIC -- $209 million last year -- and their lucky investors. But these private funds like to remain just that -- private.

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Our search for the NEWBRIDGE ANDEAN fund led to a Mail Boxes Etc. store. When we asked for "Suite 410," a clerk showed us a mailbox.


WESTSPHERE EQUITY INVESTORS manages a fund that is only for "sophisticated" investors.


The GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT EMERGING MARKETS FUND II is open to anyone able to cough up a minimum investment of $2 million.


We found the POLAND PARTNERS MANAGEMENT CO. fund at the law firm Landon Butler. The fund's investors include the AFL-CIO.