Privatization & Procurement
International financial consortia have already squeezed local shareholders out of banks in El Salvador, and now they are expected to sideline the state, all of which will contribute to widening the gap between rich and poor.
Former managers working for Custer Battles, a high-profile private security company in Iraq, are accusing the firm of using companies in the Cayman Islands and other "tax haven" countries to fraudulently overcharge on government contracts by tens of millions of dollars.
Halliburton is hiring temps to work in Iraq: $100 a month for locals, $300 for Indians and $8,000 for Texans. Meanwhile taxpayers are getting charged top dollar, prompting investigations from the United States military.
Huasco Valley property owners who live below the Pascua Lama gold mine and administer US$3 million yearly in "hush" money given them by mine owner Barrick Gold charged this weekend that their predecessors used Barrick's money for personal gain.
Plans for the Don Sahong dam in southern Laos have come under renewed fire from environmental activists. This week activists boycotted a regional consultation on the dam, just eight weeks after filing a formal request for an investigation of Mega First Corporation, the company that has the construction contract.
Among the dozens of businesses with lucrative Afghan and U.S. taxpayer-financed reconstruction deals are two extremely well connected companies -- Ghazanfar and Zahid Walid -- that helped to swell the election coffers of President Hamid Karzai as well as the family business of his running mate, the country's new vice president, warlord Mohammed Qasim Fahim.
The U.N.'s Global Compact with international big business "at the moment is so voluntary that it really is a happy-go-lucky club," says Ramesh Singh, chief executive of ActionAid, a non-governmental organisation. The controversy has come to a boiling point because of the Global Compact Leaders' Summit being held in Geneva on Thursday and Friday, at which over 1,000 representatives of multinational companies are taking part, in addition to well-known civil society figures like Irene Khan, the secretary general of AI; Mary Robinson, president of the Ethical Globalisation Initiative; Guy Ryder, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation; and Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.
Glencore corporation, the secretive Swiss commodities giant which has become one of the world's biggest trader of grain, oil and minerals, has hit an unlikely roadblock. The Bolivian government nationalized the Colquiri tin and zinc mine, the third Glencore asset to be seized by the state in five years.
The U.S. State Department on Thursday suspended the international export activities of AEY Inc., a Miami Beach arms-dealing company led by a 22-year-old man whose munitions procurements for the Pentagon are under criminal investigation.