The Corporate Law Group

Bon Jour

The Buzz will never forget reading a book about Cambodia, where the friendly greeting “bon jour” was frequently accompanied by a handful of dollars used to bribe whomever was receiving the greeting. Similarly, on June 30, 2008, Iraq sued 50 companies ranging from Chevron, BNP Paribas, and GlaxoSmithKline to Boston Scientific, and AWB, Australia’s largest wheat producer, for taking kickbacks in connection with that textbook example of fraud known as the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. Surprisingly that fine example of responsible leadership Saddam Hussein received kickbacks. The only really surprising thing here is how gullible we can be when assuming the best about people. Paul Volker headed a commission that found that 2,200 companies in 66 countries paid at least $1.8 billion in kickbacks to Iraqi “officials.” since the Oil-for-Food Program ran some $70 billion, we imagine he only saw the tip of the old iceberg. The recent lawsuit alleges violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, among other things. One thing that may prove troublesome for the Iraqi plaintiff is that the plaintiff frequently must show “clean hands” before throwing stones. Iraq was represented internationally by a bunch of crooks for so long that it may not be able to do this. We’ll see. Bon Jour!
Paul Marotta

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