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Entries in Israel (27)


Defense lawyer arrested in Israel police bribery scandal 

Ronel Fisher, courtesy of erezrv via YouTubeA prominent Israeli lawyer was arrested Thursday on suspicion of being a middleman in a series of bribery schemes between police officials and his clients who were under police investigation.

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Tesler disbarred in UK for KBR-related conviction

The London lawyer who helped KBR and its partners deliver nearly $150 million in bribes to Nigerian officials and went to prison for violating the FCPA has been disbarred by the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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Former Israel PM Olmert jailed six years for bribery

Ehud Olmert in court on March 31, courtesy of Euronews via YouTubeFormer Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for taking bribes while serving as mayor of Jerusalem.

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Cilins pleads guilty to obstructing bribe investigation

Frederic Cilins, 51, a French citizen, pleaded guilty Monday in the Southern District of New York to obstructing a federal criminal investigation into whether a mining company paid bribes to win mining rights in the Republic of Guinea.

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Rabbi bribe scandal hits top Israel anti-graft cop

Lawyers for U.S.-based Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto alleged police corruption in IsraelA top police officer in Israel at the center of bribery allegations involving a prominent rabbi quit the police force Sunday.

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Wal-Mart’s Victims Part II: The Discourse of White-Collar Crime

The Siemens enforcement action is a powerful example of what FCPA enforcement is today . . . and what it is not.

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Fugitive Israel director arrested for Siemens bribes

Emblem of the Israeli police (image courtesy of Wikipedia)Israel arrested a former judge and state electric company executive who allegedly took bribes from Siemens in exchange for huge contracts to supply gas turbines.

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SEC Subpoena For Teva

Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited said last week it was subpoenaed by the SEC because of potential FCPA compliance problems in Latin America.

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Olmert Acquitted Of Taking U.S. Bribes 

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was cleared yesterday by a Jerusalem court of accepting bribes from a Morris Talansky, an American businessman.

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Good Intentions, Bad Results

Does foreign aid cause corruption? It does, mainly by helping corrupt regimes stay in power. And because corrupt regimes are the most unstable, aid also fuels civil unrest.

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Comverse Earns Lenient Settlement

New York-based Comverse Technology Inc. today settled Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations with the DOJ and SEC for $2.8 million.

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Wages And War


Corruption, of all things, may be the deciding factor in Washington's debate about troop deployment and military strategy in Afghanistan. The Christian Science Monitor said last week: "The concern is that the Afghan government has become so rotted with corruption that it cannot consolidate the gains the U.S. military makes. In other words, the U.S. will never be able to leave Afghanistan unless there’s at least a minimally effective government to help in the near term and then take over in the future."

The 77,000-member Afghan police force illustrates the problem. Writing in this month's Atlantic (here), Anup Kaphle said:

Talk with any taxi driver or farmer in Lashkar Gah, and you’ll hear stories about police shakedowns. One farmer from the nearby town of Gereshk, who was transporting his wheat harvest to Lashkar Gah, said that a police officer had taken 1,000 Afghanis ($20) from him the previous week. “They will search your pockets and take money and valuables from you,” he said, “and you can’t say anything because you know you will have to deal with them again the next day.”

Echoing Kaphle's reporting, the Christian Science Monitor said:

Law and order in the country has collapsed as many police use their posts primarily as a platform for bribe-taking. Even before the election, President Karzai had lost broad public support in Afghanistan because of his government’s inability – or unwillingness – to stifle corruption. Indeed, it is corruption, not insecurity, that most angers Afghans.

Kaphle cites low pay as a cause of police corruption. He says their monthly wages are about $110. That's a lot higher than the average Afghan income of $25. But it's also "nearly two and a half times less than that earned by the Afghan National Army."

Those looking at countries like Afghanistan often assume low pay equals more local graft. Conversely, people living, for example, in Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel, credit high civil-service pay with reducing corruption. It's simple, they say: government employees won't risk their cushy jobs and pensions by taking bribes.

Oddly, however, there's no consistent data linking low wages with increased corruption. Researchers have been frustrated for years by what one called "puzzling empirical evidence on the relationship between corruption and bureaucratic wages." That is, in countries with high corruption rates, paying bureaucrats more doesn't always reduce corruption. That means other factors must be at work -- tribal or ethnic alliances and rivalries, education, civil rights, press freedom, relationships between local and national leaders, and so on. But no one has found a dependable way to measure those ingredients or quantify how they influence corruption.

That knowledge gap can be a problem for policy-makers. G. Pascal Zachary, author of the memoir Married to Africa, made that point this summer in the Wilson Quarterly (here). He said:

Are nations poor because their governments are cor­rupt, or does a nation’s poverty corrupt its officials? Traditional scholars of econ­omic development hold that once a nation achieves a sufficient level of prosperity, corruption naturally withers as the incentives to cheat diminish. But in recent years, the continuing poverty in countries in Africa, Latin America, and the former Soviet bloc spurred revisions to that way of thinking . . . International donors, such as the World Bank, and activist groups, such as the ­corruption-­monitoring organization Transparency International, promote the idea that if only governments in poor coun­tries were honest, their citizens would be much ­wealthier.

But the debate, he said, suffers from "a paucity of data, especially case studies."