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« Siemens To Plead Guilty | Main | Japanese Executive Jailed »
Thursday
Dec112008

The Friday Blotter

U.S. Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) lost an election for his Congressional seat on Saturday to Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao, who will become the first Vietnamese-American in Congress. Rep. Jefferson, 61, was indicted in June last year by a federal grand jury for violating the antibribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He's also charged with soliciting and accepting bribes, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. He faces a maximum of 235 years in prison if convicted on all 16 counts. His trial in Alexandria, Virginia is scheduled to start early next year.

* * *
Another politician in serious trouble for alleged corruption is Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. He was arrested Tuesday on federal charges for trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's senate seat.

* * *
So which state is more corrupt -- Louisiana or Illinois? According to the Corporate Crime Reporter's 2007 survey, it's Louisiana. Illinois ranked 6th worst but may move higher if Gov. Blagojevich is convicted. The ten most corrupt states, by the way, are Louisiana (1), Mississippi (2), Kentucky (3), Alabama (4) Ohio (5) Illinois (6), Pennsylvania (7), Florida (8), New Jersey (9) and New York (10). The survey covered the 35 most populous states, so the fifteen states with under two million people weren't included. The least corrupt states in the survey were Utah (31), Kansas (32), Minnesota (33), Iowa (34) and Oregon (35).

* * *
Strange arbitrage? According to Border's in-store book locator, Bribery Abroad is out of print. Not true. It's available from Amazon here for under $20 and can be downloaded here for about half that. Strangely, the Border's computer system offered a used copy at $69.26. The blurb said its condition is "Fine -- Carefully handled. Has no marks or blemishes on text, binding, or dust jacket. Almost new, but lacking new book crispness." Our advice: Buy new and save a bundle.

* * *
Dependable sources told us earlier this week to expect some blockbuster FCPA enforcement news. And stories out today say Siemens is close to settling with the SEC. The Associated Press quotes a Siemens supervisory board member as saying, "We're hoping on an agreement with the SEC before Christmas. If necessary, we'll meet December 23rd."

But Siemens also had some bad news this week. European Union antitrust regulators charged it with forming a price-fixing cartel among makers of power transformers. A separate AP report said Siemens, France's Areva and Swiss engineering group ABB confirmed they had received the EU charges. Public and private corruption sometimes accompany cartel activity, as illustrated by recent cases involving the makers of marine hose and orthopedic devices.

* * *
We'll be wheels up for a few days. Enjoy the weekend.

.

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