Showing posts with label bribery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bribery. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Corrupt Capitalism

Sudhir Choudhrie, who has donated more than £500,000 to the Lib Dems via his family company since 2010, was named by India's Central Bureau of Investigation as one of 23 "unscrupulous persons" in 2012. The Indian-born businessman, who lives in a £5m apartment in Chelsea, was placed on the Indian list of "unscrupulous persons" following two formal investigations of alleged bribery in Choudhrie's work brokering arms deals. The "Undesirable Contactmen" list, which was prepared by the CBI and distributed to all Indian government departments, states politicians and officials should be "careful and cautious in dealings with unscrupulous contact men whose names are on these lists, to avoid associating with them socially and accepting hospitality and gifts from them. "Even official dealings with the UCM should be discouraged. Nefarious activities of these individuals should not be allowed and they should not be allowed sponsorship of Govt projects."

Choudhrie was investigated, and later cleared of allegations he accepted a $150,000 (£90,000) commission as part of an arms deal with the Israeli company Soltam in 2000. The Indian CBI also investigated claims that Choudhrie and his companies received "a number of suspected remittances to the tune of millions of dollars" from arms firm Israel Aircraft Industries over a deal to supply seven Barak missile systems and 200 missiles to the Indian navy. The CBI closed its seven-year investigation into the allegations on 24 December 2013 due to a lack of evidence.

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam hosted an event in 2011 for Choudhrie's charity Path To Success in Lancaster House, London, an official government residence. Justice minister Simon Hughes received a £60,000 donation in November 2013. Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, used an official government trip to India to make a visit to the home of Choudhrie last year.

Choudhrie has developed strong links with the Lib Dems and was named by Nick Clegg as a potential future peer last year. Last autumn it was reported that he has since fallen off the prospective peer list following a damning official report into the state of hospitals and care homes he owns.

He and his son Bhanu were arrested and questioned for several hours by the Serious Fraud Office in connection with an investigation into allegations of multimillion pound bribery and corruption at Rolls-Royce, which supplies engines for military and civilian jets. It is understood that they were "fixers" who set up deals on the company's behalf.

The prime minister has praised Rolls-Royce as an enterprise "of which the whole country can be proud", and the Duke of Cambridge has described it as "one of the United Kingdom's great global companies" Rolls-Royce is alleged to have used middlemen to bribe Tommy Suharto, the son of Indonesia's former president General Suharto, with $20m (£13m) and a blue Rolls-Royce car.

 The allegations, which mostly date back to the 1980s and 1990s, were raised by former Rolls-Royce employee Dick Taylor. Taylor, who worked for Rolls-Royce for more than 30 years, including a stint in Indonesia, turned whistleblower after the company ignored concerns he raised internally. After taking early retirement, Taylor said he decided to "tell the truth". Taylor claims the Derby-based company paid bribes in order to persuade the national airline, Garuda, to order Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

Last year Mark King, head of Rolls-Royce's aerospace division, resigned just four months after being promoted to president of aerospace, the division beset by the allegations. The company has not explained the departure of King, a 27-year company veteran. It declined to state whether his departure was linked to the investigation, stating only that he was leaving for "personal reasons".

Lawyers for Suharto, who was convicted of ordering the murder of a judge who tried him on separate corruption charges in 2000, said: "He did not, and has never, received monies or a car from Rolls-Royce and nor did he recommend their engines to Garuda, as alleged."

The former Marks & Spencer’s boss appointed by Jeremy Hunt to advise on improving the NHS could “make a fortune” from hospital takeovers by private companies, the country’s biggest union has claimed. Sir Stuart Rose, who will lead a review of management in the NHS, is also paid to sit on the advisory board of Bridgepoint, an international private equity group, which is the major shareholder of private health firm Care UK. Care UK is in the running to take over the George Eliot NHS Hospital Trust – one of 14 hospital trusts in Sir Stuart’s review.

Rachael Maskell, national officer for health at the Unite union, said Stuart’s appointment represented a “gobsmacking conflict of interest” and called on him to confirm he would not profit personally from Care UK’s bid for the Warwickshire hospital.