Ending Corruption Not a Priority in South Asia
Paxar Corporation, a New York listed company recently acquired by Avery, acknowledged paying $30,000 to bribe Pakistani customs officials in 2008 through its local customs broker. Avery, a California-based company, manufactures and markets various office products in several dozen countries around the world.
In a settlement with the SEC, Avery has agreed to pay over $300,000 in fines, and accepted SEC's cease-and-desist order to stop its corrupt practices.
Here is a list of FCPA violations involving Indian entities reported to the Indian Prime Minister by India's US Ambassador Meera Shanker in Washington:
* On January 9, 2009, Mario Covino of Control Companies allegedly pleaded guilty to making illegal payments of over $ 1 million to employees of state-owned entities, including the Maharashtra State Electricity Board.
* On Feb 14, 2008, Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation’s Indian subsidiary, Pioneer Friction Ltd, settled civil charges in connection with improper payments to employees of Indian Railways. The $137,400-payment was made between 2001 and 2005.
* Subsidiaries of York International Corporation allegedly made improper payments of over $ 7.5 million to secure orders in various countries, including India. Payments were made from 2001 to 2006.
* C Srinivasan, a former president of A T Kearney India Ltd, allegedly made improper payments of $720,000 to senior employees of two partially state owned enterprises in India between 2001 and 2003.
* Textron’s subsidiaries allegedly made improper payments to secure contracts in various countries including India in the 2001-2005 period.
* Dow Chemicals subsidiary, DE-Nocil Crop Protection Ltd, allegedly made improper payments to various officials, including to an official in Central Insecticides Board. Pride International too, may have made third-party payments.
In spite of the well-publicized actions of the US government under FCPA, there appears to have been no government investigations ordered or actions taken against the corrupt officials on the receiving end of the reported bribes from the US companies in India and Pakistan.
It is because of the total impunity for the corrupt politicians and officials in Pakistan that corruption has surged by whopping 400 percent in the last three years, according to the National Corruption Perception Survey 2009 carried out by Transparency International. The return of democracy under a US-sponsored amnesty for the current leadership has not helped in holding the corrupt accountable. On Transparency International survey for 2008, Pakistan fares badly, ranking at 134 on a list of 180 nations surveyed. By comparison, India ranks higher at 85 while Bangladesh ranks lower at 147.
The National Corruption Perception Survey 2009 (NCPS 2009) indicates that the overall Corruption in 2002 has increased from Rs.45 Billion to Rs.195 Billion in 2009. Police and Power maintained their ranking as the top two most corrupt sectors.
There has been remarkable improvement in Judiciary. As compared to 2006 when it was ranked 3rd most corrupt sector, in 2009 Judiciary is ranked 7th, The News reports.
Postscript: According of Professor Mike Koehler of Butler University School of Law, the FCPA does not contain any affirmative disclosure obligation, as the opening paragraph of this post suggests. However, I do believe that there are certain practical benefits of self-disclosure, such as no prosecution for past violations or lighter or suspended sentences etc.
An example is the case involving a Dutch software company, Paradigm, that caters to the oil and gas industry. After the company relocated its principal place of business from Israel to Texas in 2005, it discovered it had either made or promised numerous bribes to officials in five nations. The company pre-emptively confessed to Justice Department prosecutors, instituted remedial compliance measures, and ultimately ended up with an 18-month non-prosecution agreement.
Avery Acknowledges Bribing Pakistani Officials
FCPA Violations Involving Indian Entities
The Story of Graft
Anti-Corruption Day, Blagojevich and Zardari
Bhutto Convicted in Switzerland
Corruption in Pakistan
Transparency International Survey 2007
Is Siemens Guilty?
Zardari Corruption Probe