"We risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance"
- Rubén Blades

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it"
- Art Buchwald

"It's getting exciting now, two and one-half. Think of everything we've accomplished, man. Out these windows, we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to economic equilibrium"
- Tyler Durden

"It is your corrupt we claim. It is your evil that will be sought by us. With every breath, we shall hunt them down."
- Boondock Saints

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

They Don't Really Care About Us

The illusion of due diligence.  The American government is fantastic at saying something is white then behaving as if it anything but white.  Time and time again articles are published that are meant to help the US credibility and backing from the public.  The US acts as if someone is immoral for bribing a foreign official to enable avenues for sales in order to work around horseshit government policy, whether its the US' or some foreign country governments.  This is the same government that allow false flags, napalmed Vietnam citizens, ran guns to Mexico so that they could point to the loose gun controls in the US and ban them, steals gold from its citizens when they need it most, and uses judges to kill citizens then hides it. This is all so twisted and if the population wasn't distracted with SO MUCH STUFF, they would be able to have a more balanced system.  Instead we have people who prosecute in the spirit of creating the illusion of due diligence (Think Roger Clemens and LB from Goldman) or national security (sleeping control tower employees).  This group stays under the radar but their helpers, those in gov't that we know about, act as if they are so moral and that their actions I listed above are not even comparable to Oracle paying for sales.  The US Government might even argue that Oracle's actions are far worse than the bullshit linked to above.

From WSJ:
U.S. authorities are investigating whether Oracle Corp., one of the world's largest software companies by sales, violated federal antibribery laws in its dealings abroad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Washington field office and fraud prosecutors in the Justice Department's Criminal Division are handling a criminal investigation, which has been under way for at least a year, according to people familiar with the matter. Attorneys at the Securities and Exchange Commission are also investigating for possible civil violations, these people said.

One prong of the wide-ranging investigation is looking at the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company's software sales to government agencies in Western and Central African countries, said one of those people. 

A spokeswoman for Oracle declined to comment. Lawyers for the company did not respond to requests for comment.
The agencies are examining whether Oracle employees or agents acting on the company's behalf made improper payments in Africa in order to land sales of database and applications software, a person familiar with the matter said.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which was passed in 1977, prohibits U.S. companies and their employees from offering or paying bribes to foreign government officials or employees of state-owned companies.

The government has stepped up its enforcement of antibribery laws in recent years. The Justice Department brought 24 enforcement actions in 2010, up from five in 2004. It has brought seven so far this year. Penalties have increased geometrically, with criminal fines in fiscal 2009 and 2010 combined totaling nearly $2 billion, up from about $11 million in 2004. 

Recent FCPA probes have sent ripples across the U.S. high-tech sector, whose breakneck pace, reliance on third-parties and heavy dealings with foreign governments make it a target for inquiries, defense lawyers say. 

U.S. authorities separately are investigating allegations that Oracle rival Hewlett-Packard Co. made illegal payments to state-owned and private companies in Russia and elsewhere, the company has said in regulatory filings. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has said it is cooperating with the Justice Department and SEC in their probe.

In March, International Business Machines Corp. agreed to pay the SEC $10 million to resolve civil allegations that employees paid bribes in Asia in exchange for computer gear. Under the settlement, the Armonk, N.Y., technology giant neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

Oracle is the latest company to be tripped up by a U.S. probe into bribery allegations in Africa, where it is trying to expand its presence. It sells a wide-range of computer technology, data management and applications software for businesses and governments in 145 countries around the world.

One prong of the wide-ranging investigation is looking at Oracle's software sales to government agencies in Western and Central African countries.
The company does not break down its revenue by continent, but Oracle's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for about a third of its $35.6 billion in revenues in the fiscal year ended May 31. The company's operations in the Americas accounted for more than half of its revenues, while the Asia-Pacific region contributed 16%, according to Oracle's annual report.

Swiss logistics company Panalpina Group agreed last year to pay $82 million in penalties and fines to settle charges it paid bribes in Nigeria and elsewhere to expedite service such as clearing drilling rigs and other equipment through customs on behalf of its customers. The company admitted to criminal violations of the FCPA in a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department but neither admitted nor denied allegations by the SEC in a civil settlement.

Together with Panalpina, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and six other companies, including offshore-drilling giants Transocean Ltd. and Noble Corp., agreed as part of the same settlement to pay a combined $236 million to settle allegations that they or their contractors bribed foreign officials to smooth the way for importing equipment and materials into several countries. The companies admitted to the bribes.
Noble, which is registered in Zug, Switzerland, received a reduced fine because it made the U.S. government aware of payments to Nigerian custom agents by its subsidiary.

In 2009, Halliburton Co. and former subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root LLC agreed to pay $579 million in fines and penalties over charges that KBR bribed Nigerian officials during the construction of a gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to criminal violations of FCPA. In a separate settlement with the SEC, Halliburton and KBR neither admitted nor denied the charges.