Global Corruption Roundup

Companies and cases in the news

September 11, 2009
The International Fight Against Bribery; An interactive map examining the world's biggest corruption cases

Interactive Timeline: Corruption in the Crosshairs: A brief history of international anti-bribery legislation

BAE Systems given deadline for a plea bargain in bribery case
Citing sources close to the British arms manufacturer BAE Systems, The UK's Mail on Sunday reported that the aerospace giant has to negotiate a plea-bargain with the Serious Fraud Office before the end of the month to avoid a criminal trial for paying bribes to obtain multi-billion-dollar contracts in the Czech Republic, Tanzania, and South Africa. The SFO -- the British government's fraud investigation and prosecution unit -- had come under severe international criticism by the OECD working group on bribery and others for dropping its investigation in December 2006 into allegations that BAE bribed members of the Saudi Arabian government to secure the Al-Yamamah arms deal. The investigation was stopped by the British government, which expressed concern that the case could damage the relationship with Saudi Arabia and could threaten national security.

Prince Bandar's plane classified as "civil aircraft"
The U.S. Department of Justice, along with criminal investigators in Africa and Europe, also continues to investigate the British defense company BAE Systems for bribery. Sources report that there are ongoing negotiations between BAE and prosecutors as well as between the different countries involved over what a settlement might look like concerning the payments to the Saudi Royals.

As we reported for the FRONTLINE film "Black Money", Prince Bandar bin Sultan's receipt of $2 billion into the accounts he controlled in Washington and the delivery by BAE for his use of an Airbus 340 remain matters of interest to investigators. In an interview in March 2009 with FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman, Prince Bandar's attorney, former FBI Director Louis Freeh insisted that the Airbus 340, painted in the colors of Prince Bandar's favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, was a military aircraft, rather than Prince Bandar's private plane. Recently, we were directed to statements by then British Secretary of State for Defense, Des Brow, who in a written answer to a parliamentary inquiry in June 2007 stated that:

"Since 1 July 2006, aircraft HZ 124 has landed 15 times at RAF Brize Norton. The aircraft operated in accordance with the MOD regulations for civil aircraft use of military airfields. The regulations also cover the applicability and level of landing, housing, parking and insurance fees charges. The regulations have been adhered to for each flight."

The Airbus, HZ 124, is registered to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense and Aviation. For over a decade it has been used by Prince Bandar. Last seen by "plane watchers" this past July in Germany, both it and Prince Bandar have been out of public view for quite some time.

A bribe for access to Brazilian markets costs U.S. nutritional company
Six years after Nature's Sunshine Products (NSP), a manufacturer of vitamins and herbal supplements from Provo, Utah, opened a Brazilian subsidy in 1994, Brazil had became NSP's largest foreign market, with annual revenues reaching $22 million. But when the Brazilian government agency in charge of regulating nutritional supplements, ANVISA, reclassified many of their supplements as medicines in 2000, NSP's sales in Brazil dropped to $2.3 million, as the stricter regulatory controls prevented NSP from registering and selling many of its popular products.

According to the complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), NSP made cash payments totaling over $1 million in 2000 and 2001 to so-called customs brokers in Brazil to circumvent the new regulations. The brokers used portions of the payments to bribe Brazilian government officials, who then allowed the unregistered products into the country. NSP later falsified its books to make the illicit payments seem like proper business expenses.

The CEO and the former CFO of Nature's Sunshine Products Inc., without admitting or denying the allegations, each agreed to pay a $25,000 fine to the SEC to settle the case. The company is also paying an additional civil penalty of $600,000.

KPMG survey: British companies lack corruption risk awareness
Many British companies are not fully aware of the necessary steps to take to minimize the risk of corruption and bribery, according to a survey by the consultancy KPMG. While two-thirds of the 100 companies taking part in the survey said it is impossible to do business in some countries without engaging in corruption and bribery, only one third said they have actually stopped doing business in those countries. Forty-three percent of the companies said they had no anti-bribery or corruption compliance program in place, which leaves them vulnerable to violations of anti-bribery laws. In a subsequent editorial, the Financial Times (FT) urged British companies to bring "fair play back to Britain." The FT writes with reference to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) that "UK authorities seem finally to begin feeling embarrassed that other countries deter UK corporate wrongdoing more effectively than do Britain's own laws."

Bribery investigations focus on China's richest
China is cracking down on corruption inside the country -- and the super-rich are not immune. According to a report in the newspaper China Daily, nearly 30 of China's wealthiest people are either under investigation or charged with bribery. The investigations span all kinds of industries -- from power generation to medical devices to the flower business. But the motives for the most recent anti-corruption campaign may not be completely pure, writes New York Times reporter David Barboza, who cites several experts that see the recent investigations and arrests as symptom of the power struggle within the communist party.

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REACTIONS


Max Earth - Lismore, Australia
Hohum? People are forced to be corrupt because the up top up club elites control distribution of the source of all wealth, and thus the means of production of the most important basics like food and a roof.Equitable access to Land gives the security everyone needs, removing the ne
ed to be criminals and corrupt. It would also stop people having to create
idiotic products, over-fish the oceans, chase ephemeral things like "time",
become zombies in workplaces, etc, etc.
This applies from the bottom of society to the top.
All today's politrix is the distractive hiding of this ONE basic fact.
Economics is Science, Rightly done.
It's time to rewrite the economics text books, and issue books by Henry Geo
rge to every school, GLOBALLY.
"Capitalism" as we know it today is a warped & deadly "Brit-Eurapean" myth,
rooted in a dated lie suiting psychotic colonialist Brit-Eurapean cults only.
ENOUGH! As they say......
"GLOBAL LAND & TAX REFORM" should be the Mantra at Copenhagen this DecemberLong Live The Protest!
Long Live The Protest!
Long Live The Protest!
Or we'll all be RUUUINNNED!

 

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