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Can you Trust big business? March review 2013


Despite all the Irregularities listed below nobody has yet been sent to prison.

To put this in perspective almost 200 people were jailed in Ireland for not paying court fines relating to TV licences last year.

One rule for the rich and another for the poor

images (7)

 

 

‘Bankers should be technicians and functionaries who serve the public and provide guaranteed stability. They should not be entrepreneurs, gamblers, who can count on public bailouts if their speculations turn to dust.’ 

The Guardian, Friday 1 March 2013

One of London’s most successful hedge fund managers, Patrick Degorce, has been forced to part with millions of pounds in tax after Revenue and Customs persuaded the courts to throw out a complex film

RTE – 1st  March

Seán FitzPatrick facing 12 charges over financial irregularities. Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman and chief executive Seán FitzPatrick has been sent forward for trial on 12 charges in connection with alleged financial irregularities at the bank. He is accused of making false, misleading or deceptive statements in relation to millions of euro to the company’s auditors, Ernst and Young, over a six-year period. The amounts on the charges are €5.1m in 2002; €14m in 2003; €23m in 2004; €42.1m in 2005; €60.9m in 2006 and €139.8m in 2007.

Telegraph Saturday 02 March 2013

 

Ernst & Young to pay $123m to settle US tax shelter probe Ernst & Young has agreed to pay $123m to resolve a US federal investigation into its role developing and marketing tax shelters that helped its clients avoid more than $2bn in tax liabilities. As part of the settlement, announced by the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office, the accounting firm also entered into a non-prosecution agreement and admitted to the wrongful conduct of certain partners and employees. The settlement amount reflects the gross fees Ernst & Young earned developing and marketing four tax shelter products from 1999 to 2004, according to the nonprosecution agreement.

Telegraph Saturday 02 March 2013

Commodity giant Glencore under spotlight over Iran Glencore, the FTSE 100 commodity giant, supplied tonnes of raw material to an Iranian firm that supplied the country’s nuclear programme, it emerged. A Western intelligence report seen by Reuters described Glencore’s barter deal as a good way for Tehran to get around global financial restrictions imposed over its nuclear activities, although it did not say that Glencore violated sanctions.

March 2, 2013  Reuters

Las Vegas Sands says “likely” violated U.S. corruption act March 2, 2013 4:39 PM ET Reuters) – Las Vegas Sands Corp said it “likely” violated the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday. The filing marks the first disclosure by the casino operator, controlled by founder and billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, that is was under investigation.

Independant Thursday 5th March 2013

IBRC suing two Dubai firms in Quinn case TWO related companies based in Dubai are being sued by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) over their alleged involvement in an asset-stripping scheme by family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn. In the commercial court yesterday Judge Peter Kelly granted an application by IBRC to join Senat Legal and Senat FZC, both of Gold and Diamond Park, Dubai, and Michael Waechter, principal of Senat FZC, as co-defendants to the bank’s action against various members of the Quinn family. The judge noted IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace claimed the Senat parties played “a pivotal role” in the scheme to strip assets worth up to $500m from the Quinn family’s International Property Group (IPG). It is alleged the scheme was “masterminded by one or all” of the three, the judge said.

 

Irish Times Thursday, March 7, 2013

Microsoft fined €561m for limiting browser choice Shares in Microsoft dropped yesterday after the European Commission imposed a €561 million fine on the company for failing to implement a previous ruling obliging it to offer users a choice of internet browsers. It is the first time the commission has been forced to fine a company for non-compliance with agreed commitments. In 2009 a European antitrust investigation found that Microsoft was unfairly tying its internet Explorer browser to its Windows operating system, and ruled that the company must give users a choice of which internet browsers to use.

 

The Telegraph 8th Mar 2013

Pensioners being ‘ripped off’ by profit margins on annuities Retiring workers are being “ripped off” by financial companies making huge profit margins on annuities, campaigners have warned. A Telegraph investigation has raised concerns about the profits that insurance companies and other firms are making on annuities. Only one annuities provider, Standard Life, has disclosed its margins on annuities, revealing that it pockets almost 20p of every pound a customer pays for an annuity. Other firms refuse to reveal their margins, and experts warn that the industry is concealing large profits. Ros Altmann, a pensions campaigner, said: “These huge margins are outrageous.”

The Guardian, Monday 11 March 2013

All bets are off as online gambling group Intrade launches investigation

Irish company announces it is looking into possible ‘financial irregularities’ and has ‘immediately ceased’ its trading activity Online gambling group Intrade has ceased taking bets after launching an investigation into potential “financial irregularities”.

 

 

Irish TIMES 14 MARCH 2013

THE son of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has provided statements of Russian bank accounts held by himself and other family members to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) and is anxious to finally purge his contempt of court orders, the High Court heard today.

The Guardian, Friday 15 March 2013

US hedge fund SAC pays record fine to settle insider trading allegations SAC Capital, a hedge fund run by billionaire Steve Cohen, is to pay $600m (£397m), the biggest insider dealing fine in history

The Guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 March 2013

JP Morgan faced a barrage of criticism on Friday for it disastrous “London whale” trading loss as senators and the bank’s regulator accused its executives of believing they were too big to fail, ignoring warnings about the escalating losses and deliberately withholding information. At a hearing a day after it published a damning 300-page report on JP Morgan’s $6.2bn debacle, the Senate subcommittee on investigations hammered bank executives over the affair, while regulators flatly denied JP Morgan’s claims that it had kept them informed about the mounting losses.

The TELEGRAPH  19 Mar 2013

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac resigns after tax fraud probe 

Cahuzac, a cabinet heavyweight, had been tasked with fighting tax evasion. He is now under investigation for holding a secret Swiss bank account. The resignation is an embarrassment and a blow to President François Hollande as his government seeks to redraft deficit reduction plans to maintain fiscal credibility with France’s euro zone partners. Mr Cahuzac was responsible for making drastic government spending cuts. He had repeatedly dismissed as “crazy” a report in December by French investigative news website Mediapart that he held an undisclosed account at the Swiss bank UBS until the start of 2010. “I have never had an account in Switzerland or any other place abroad,” he said at the time.

 RTE  Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Representatives of the special liquidator of IBRC served papers on three former directors of Irish Nationwide last night. It is understood the legal action relates to their stewardship of the building society. Papers were served on former directors Terence Cooney and Stan Purcell, and former chairman Michael Walsh. It is understood that it is intended that papers will be served on former managing director Michael Fingleton and another former director David Brophy.

RTE 27TH March

Britain’s financial services regulator has fined insurer Prudential £30m and censured its chief executive over its handling of a failed bid to acquire rival AIA in 2010. The UK’s Financial Services Authority fine concerned Prudential’s plans to acquire AIA, the Asian subsidiary of AIG. The bid eventually collapsed after both parties failed to agree on a price. The FSA said Prudential did not inform it of the deal – even though they held a detailed meeting only weeks before news of the deal emerged. The FSA also censured CEO Tidjane Thiam, for playing a significant part in the decision not to contact the regulator. The regulator said the deal’s size would have been the biggest in the UK and could have affected confidence in the country’s financial system.

The Guardian, Thursday 28 March

Royal Bank of Scotland is being sued for misleading investors during its £12bn emergency fundraising in 2008, in a landmark joint claim brought by Dutch bank ING and pension funds for British coal miners.

Can you Trust big Business? A look at Bayer AG


Overview

Bayer AG is a massive German based chemicals and pharmaceuticals manufacturer. It has operations in most countries worldwide and had global sales for 2000 of nearly $30 billion.[1] Its operations are divided into four sectors: Health, Agriculture, Polymers (plastics, synthetic rubber) and Chemicals. It has recently acquired Aventis’ controversial cropscience business, making it a key player in the development, commercialisation and sale of GM crops. As a major player in 4 controversial sectors for over 125 years Bayer has a distinguished history of corporate crimes ranging from the manufacture and sale of controversial drugs (Heroin, Ciproxin and Baycol), the development of chemical warfare agents and poisons (Chlorine Gas, Zyklon B and VX), the use of forced labour during WW2, and numerous cases of poisoning, side-effects and environmental pollution connected to its chemical and pharmaceutical products. In December 2001, Multinational Monitor rated Bayer AG as one of their Top Ten Worst Companies of the year.

1.3. History [6]

For over 125 years Bayer has been a major player in 4 of the most controversial business areas that capitalism has so far produced. They have a long and particularly nasty history of corporate crime (see also Corporate Crime section below internal link).

The first incarnation of what is currently Bayer AG was born out of the rush by European industrialists to develop and manufacture synthetic dyes in the second half of the 19th century. Friedrich Bayer and Johann Friedrich Weskott opened a dye factory in 1863 in Wuppertal, Germany. The company Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. was launched in 1883. Bayer quickly diversified their activities into other areas of chemical manufacture, including photography and pharmaceuticals. Bayer also established operations throughout Europe and the US. Early Bayer discoveries included Antinonin (synthetic pesticide, 1892), Aspirin (1897), Heroin (1898) and Buna (synthetic rubber 1915). During WWI Bayer, along with other chemical manufacturers (both Allied and German), turned their attention to the manufacture of chemical weapons [7] including chlorine gas used to horrendous effect in the trenches.

During WWI Bayer had formed a close association with other German chemical companies including BASF and Hoechst. This relationship was formalised in 1925 with merger of these companies as well as AGFA, and others, to form the IG Farben Trust.[8]

IG Farben continued to grow during the inter-war period as one of the most powerful chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the world. Products included polyurethanes and the first ‘sulpha’ drugs.

It is during Nazi-era Germany and WW2 that IG Farben (Bayer) entered its most sinister phase. IG Farben as the leading chemical company in Nazi Germany took over chemical plants across Nazi occupied Europe, used slave-labour in their factories (including operating their own concentration camp), conducted medical experiments on those held in the concentration camps and manufactured the poison gas used to kill thousands. At the end of the war the 1945 Potsdam Agreement called for the break up of IG Farben into its constituent companies. Twelve IG Farben employees and directors were jailed for war crimes at the Nuremburg Trials.

Bayer was re-established as Farbenfabriken Bayer AG in 1951, changing its name to the current Bayer AG in 1972. Although the post-WW2 Bayer is a different legal entity to the Bayer that pre-existed IG Farben, and that which formed part of IG Farben, a direct line of continuity can be traced between the personnel, infrastructure and technology of these 3 incarnations. Bayer has a very murky past that should be remembered.

For Bayer’s rose-tinted, and very selective, version of its own history have a look at their Bayer Tapestry http://www.bayer.co.uk/tapestry/

Controversies from Wikipedia

Aspirin discoverer

It has been documented that aspirin compounds were successfully synthesized by various other scientists or groups between 1848–1869, long before Bayer’s claims. This fact led to various patent litigations in the early 20th century.[14]

Arthur Eichengrün, a Bayer chemist, claimed to be the first to discover an aspirin formulation which did not have the unpleasant side effects of nausea and gastric pain. Eichengrün also claimed he invented the name aspirin and was the first person to use the new formulation to test its safety and efficacy. Bayer contends aspirin was discovered by Felix Hoffman to alleviate the sufferings of his father, who had arthritis. Various sources support the conflicting claims.[15][16][17]

[edit]Nazi chairman

In 1956 Fritz ter Meer became chairman of Bayer’s supervisory board. He was convicted at the Nuremberg trials for his part in carrying out experiments on human subjects at Auschwitz. He was found “guilty of count two, plunder and spoliation, and count three, slavery and mass murder” and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and served five years.[18]

HIV infected blood products

Main article: Contaminated haemophilia blood products

A cite from http://www.haemophilia-litigation.com/, access date 31 May 2006:

“After 1978, there were four major companies in the United States engaged in the manufacture, production and sale of Factor VIII and IX: Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Bayer Corporation and its Cutter Biological division, Baxter Healthcare and its Hyland Pharmaceutical division and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation, which have been or are defendants in certain lawsuits.

The plaintiffs allege that the companies manufactured and sold blood factor products as beneficial “medicines” that were, in fact of likely to be contaminated with HIV and/or HCV. This resulted in the mass infection and/or deaths of thousands of haemophiliacs worldwide.[19]

It is believed that three of these companies, Alpha, Baxter, and Cutter, recruited and paid donors from high risk populations, including prisoners (i.e. prison-based collections), intravenous drug users, and plasma centers with predominantly homosexual donors, esp. in cities with large populations thereof, to obtain blood plasma used for the production of Factor VIII and IX. Plaintiffs allege that these companies failed to exclude donors, as mandated by federal law, with a history of viral hepatitis. Such testing could have substantially reduced the likelihood of plasma containing HIV and/ or HCV entering plasma pools.”[20]

Baycol

After 52 deaths were blamed on an alleged side effect of Bayer’s anticholesterol drug Baycol, its manufacture and sale were discontinued in 2001. The side effect was rhabdomyolysis, causing renal failure, which occurred with a tenfold greater frequency in patients treated with Baycol in comparison to those prescribed alternate medications of the statin class.[21]

Medicaid reimbursement

In January 2001, Bayer agreed to pay $14 million to the United States and 45 states to settle allegations under the federal False Claims Act that the company caused physicians and other health care providers to submit fraudulently inflated reimbursement claims to Medicaid.[22]

Methyl parathion poisoning case

In October 2001, Bayer was taken to court after 24 children in the remote Andean village of Tauccamarca, Peru were killed and 18 severely poisoned when they drank a powdered milk substitute contaminated with the insecticide methyl parathion. A Peruvian Congressional Subcommittee found significant evidence of criminal responsibility by Bayer and the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture.[23]

Liberty Link rice

In August 2006, it became apparent that the United States rice crop had been contaminated with unapproved genetically engineered Bayer CropScience rice.[24]

More specifically, the genetically engineered rice has an herbicide-resistance trait. These forms of rice are commonly referred to among US rice growers as, Liberty Link rice 601 or LL 601. Approximately 100 varieties of rice are produced primarily in the following six states: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and California.

2006 Trasylol safety advisory

In September 2006, Bayer was faulted by the FDA for not revealing during testimony the existence of a commissioned retrospective study of 67,000 patients, 30,000 of whom received Trasylol and the rest other antifibrinolytics. The study concluded Trasylol carried greater risks. The FDA was alerted to the study by one of the researchers involved. Although the FDA issued a statement of concern, they did not change their recommendation that the drug may benefit certain patients. In a Public Health Advisory Update dated 3 October 2006, the FDA recommended “physicians consider limiting Trasylol use to those situations in which the clinical benefit of reduced blood loss is necessary to medical management and outweighs the potential risks” and carefully monitor patients.[25] The FDA took Trasylol off the market on 5 November 2007.[26]

Prostate cancer claims

In October 2009, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Bayer for “falsely claiming that the selenium in Men’s One-A-Day multivitamins might reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”[27]

Neonicotinoid pesticides

In December 2010, a leaked memo from the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division asserted “Clothianidin’s (Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticide) major risk concern is to non-target insects (that is, honey bees). Exposure through contaminated pollen and nectar and potential toxic effects therefore remain an uncertainty for pollinators.”[28][29][30] In January 2011, Avaaz.org launched an online petition to ban neonicotinoid pesticides.[31]

Imidacloprid

Main article: Imidacloprid effects on bee population

French and Nova Scotian beekeepers claim Bayer’s seed treatment imidacloprid kills honeybees. France has since issued a provisional ban on the use of imidacloprid for corn seed treatment pending further action. A consortium of U.S. beekeepers filed a civil suit against Bayer CropScience for alleged losses.

Chemical accidents

On 28 August 2008, an explosion occurred at the Bayer CropScience facility at Institute, West Virginia. A runaway reaction ruptured a tank and the resulting explosion killed two employees. The ruptured tank was close to a methyl isocyanate tank which was undamaged by the explosion.[32]

via Bayer AG : Overview.

via Bayer AG : Overview.

Can you Trust big business? January review 2013


Here is a list of of the items I noted in the month of Jan 2013.

Ask yourself how ethical or trustworthy is business today.

(1)The Irish Times – Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Steel plant pollution and bribery scandal engulfs Italians

The basic accusation levelled at the Riva family is that, over a 17-year period, pollution from its Taranto plant has poisoned not only Ilva workers and local people but also the entire eco-system of the surrounding region. The company is also accused of bribing local officials

=========================================================

(2)

Guardian.co.uk, Sunday 6 January 2013 14.09 GMT

France shaken by fresh scandal over weight-loss drug linked to deaths

Drug company boss faces manslaughter investigation as victims complain of delays in compensation

===========================================================

(3)

Telegraph  Mon 7th Jan

Rolls in China bribery allegations

Aerospace engine maker Rolls Royce is facing allegations it bribed a Chinese airline executive to secure deals worth a total of $2bn (£1.24bn), according to reports.

==============================================================================

(4)

Telegraph 7th jan
Rothschild demands action from Bumi director
Financier Nat Rothschild has told Bumi’s senior independent director Sir Julian Horn-Smith he must take action over the alleged financial misdemeanours at the coal miner or consider quitting the board.

=============================================================================

(5) Telegraph 9th Jan

UBS fires eighteen over Libor-rigging scandal
Just eighteen UBS staff were sacked over the Libor-rigging scandal that saw the bank hand over $1.5bn (£940m) to regulators, the second-largest fine ever paid by a bank.

===============================================================================

(6) Telegraph 9th of Jan

Foxconn reviews China deals as it probes bribe claims
Apple’s technology provider Foxconn has revealed it could pull acquisitions in China over allegations its managers in the country solicited bribes from local suppliers.

As well as suffering from a string of suicides Foxconn was also exposed last year as employing children as young as 14 on its assembly lines.

(7)

Wednesday 09 January 2013 Daily Telegraph

Former HBOS managers charged in £35m fraud investigation

Two former senior managers at HBOS were among eight people charged on Tuesday night in connection with an alleged £35m fraud.

————-=====================================================================

(8) The Telegraph 9th Jan

US Interior Department launches probe into Shell’s Arctic oil drilling
The US Interior Department has launched a “high-level” review of Shell’s mishap-hit 2012 Arctic drilling campaign, throwing the company’s plans to explore for oil in the region further into doubt.

(9)

Daily Mail-20 th Jan
Exposed: The regime of fear inside Barclay s – and how the boss lied and shredded the evidence
British executive at £184bn broking arm hid damning report on bullying
Intimidated staff forced to flout rules in pursuit of ‘revenue at all costs’
Huge blow to Barclay’s reputation as new CEO struggles to relaunch bank

==========================================================================

(10) The Independent 

WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2013
Swiss food giant Nestlé fined for infiltrating activist group

The Swiss food giant Nestlé was ordered to pay SFr 27,000 (£18,700) compensation after being found liable in a civil case over the secret infiltration of an activist group that had campaigned against it.

A court ruled last week in favour of anti-globalisation group Attac, following revelations that Nestlé had hired the Swiss security company Securitas AG to infiltrate its meetings.
A spokesman for Nestlé noted the judge’s decision “with disappointment” and reiterated “that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles”.

===============================================================================

Tomorrow: Can you Trust big business?  Walmart And Company Bribing Their Way Through Latin America –

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