Public funds can be misused to the benefit of partisan, group or individual interests, and they may used unjustly to finance political parties, electoral campaigns, secret police, or espionage. Government contracts may be unfairly allocated; unbacked promissory notes may be issued and the funds used; appointed positions may be given to favourites and appointees may enjoy unequal salaries.
During and following the Gulf War, it is alleged that some US$5 billion was unlawfully taken from the public funds of Kuwait by businessmen and officials, including members of the ruling Sabah family. This resulted in the depletion of Kuwaiti investments in London, Paris and Spain. Senior officials are alleged to have removed at least US$70 million.