Is open corruption the rule or the exception?

Given the amount of corporate and financial sleaze being uncovered lately, it is clear that bribery and corruption must be a major part of it. Yet many still want to believe this is just a few bad apples or that the real problem was incompetence. Not likely. There’s way too much money involved for that.

Corruption of course doesn’t have to be a cash bribe, it can be a cushy job after government employment and appropriate services rendered, sweethearts deals on real estate, stock tips, payoffs via phony futures trades – there are any number of ways to funnel money to people besides cash.

At Siemens, bribery was just a line item

Mr. Siekaczek says that from 2002 to 2006 he oversaw an annual bribery budget of about $40 million to $50 million at Siemens. Company managers and sales staff used the slush fund to cozy up to corrupt government officials worldwide.

But the fix is still in, the Justice Department allowed Siemens to plead to non criminal charges because otherwise they’d have been barred from doing business in the US. This makes a mockery of the anti-bribery laws and simply demonstrates the venality of the regulators.

Albert J. Stanley, a legendary figure in the oil patch and the former chief executive of the KBR subsidiary of Halliburton, recently pleaded guilty to charges of paying bribes and skimming millions for himself. More charges are coming in that case, officials say.

Paying hundreds of millions in bribes and skimming millions for yourself is by any definition, corruption. But of course no one else at Halliburton, most especially Dick Cheney, had any clue this was happening, of course.

Security fraud prosecutions down 87% since 2000.

“Illiteracy” among junior SEC staff facilitated Madoff

Financial illiteracy among junior staff at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made it easier for Bernard Madoff to operate his alleged $50 billion fraud undetected, the head of the US’s biggest options exchange has warned.

This must have been done deliberately, hiring junior level regulators that highers ups knew wouldn’t be able to do the job. Why else would they do it?