Bribery, Fraud & Tax Evasion
The $2.9 billion plant that bankrupt U.S. energy giant Enron built was a technological breakthrough and still represents the largest single foreign investment in India. But since shutting down almost four years ago, it has proven more of an embarrassment than a showcase.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) today released the Vaughn Report, commissioned by the World Bank as a guide to modernize the Bank's whistleblower protection policies. In the nine months since the Vaughn report was released on April 30, 2005, the World Bank has refused to publicly release the report, consult staff on Vaughn's recommendations, or accept any offers from experts to help implement Vaughn's analysis.
At some point it dawned on the wheeler-dealers at Enron that selling real things - like gas and oil - had it limits. What they needed were products that had no physical limits. Energy contract futures were their first discovery, and how sweet they were. No more messy oil or smelly gas to deliver - just electronic bookkeeping notations. That's when Jeffrey Skilling discovered a product so ephemeral it bordered on metaphysical - bandwidth.
Two senior Tanzanian officials were arrested after they failed to produce details of 26 multi-billion dollar agreements signed with Statoil of Norway; the BG Group and Ophir from the UK; and ExxonMobil from the U.S. Opposition politicians want assurances that the money will be spent in a transparent manner.
Ugly scenarios played out repeatedly on the world stage in the past decade as Enron emerged as the dominant force in the energy industry. While Enron built a reputation as a savvy deal maker and charitable giver in the United States, it has long been perceived quite differently abroad.
Residents of Bhopal, India continue to suffer from Union Carbide's toxic legacy, this time in the form of toxic waste that still languishes inside a shoddy warehouse on the old factory grounds. Ailments such as cleft palates and mental retardation are appearing in numbers of Bhopali children, raising questions about contaminated soil and groundwater, clean-up, and liability.
How much crude oil is Iraq actually exporting? Nobody really knows how much is potentially being stolen by corrupt officials because the contractors in charge of fixing the meters have yet to calibrate them, four years after the invasion.
While Iraq represents bloodshed and death on a massive scale to most people, to Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) it has brought a boom time, boosting the revenues of British-based PMSCs alone from ÃÂ£320 million in 2003 to more than ÃÂ£1.8 billion in 2004. In the same year income for the industry worldwide reached $100 billion.