Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corruption. 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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jobs for the boys and girls too

Andreana Adamson was singled out in the report when she was the chief executive of the state hospital at Carstairs  that examined payments totalling about £50,000 divided among a handful of senior employees and allegations of bullying of staff at Carstairs. Eligibility for the payments had not been considered by the Carstairs board through its remuneration committee. Instead, they had been given the “de facto” approval of board chairman Terry Currie, who had been left forms to sign by the chief executive. Junior workers had their pay frozen at the time. Adamson stepped aside as chief executive six months ago. The inquiry found “issues” around “leadership, culture and behaviour” at the hospital. “This is most often linked to the issue of bullying and harassment,” the report said. “Whilst this investigation was not focused on any specific allegation of bullying behaviour, it was, nonetheless, a running theme throughout.”

Andreana Adamson is now to be the NHS director health and justice.  She will retain the same pay and conditions in her new role.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Salmond - apologist for organised crime

Speaking during his New York trip, Alex Salmond said HSBC "in many ways is the most Scottish bank in the world now. Founded by Scots, run by Scots, on the principles of Scottish banking. Hence one reason why it's survived the winds better than other institutions"


With the Scottish-based HBOS and RBS exposed as incompetent and failed banking institutions Salmond was required to look further afield for a positive example. But the HSBC?

This was the bank fined £1.2 billion for money laundering in the United States and Mexico, and embroiled in a fresh scandal with Argentine authorities accusing it of laundering $100 million. In India, in November 2012, anti-corruption crusaders Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan alleged that the bank was involved in black money and hawala transactions. They said that in July 2011, the Indian Government had received a list of about 700 people having bank accounts in HSBC, Geneva, in 2006. The Bank also was fined $1.4 billion by the U.K. for improper selling of its financial products, including interest-rate swaps to corporate customers.

According to the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development and Global Financial Integrity, HSBC Mexico’s Cayman Islands branch opened as many as $50,000-denominated accounts without adequate attention to customer identification. HSBC USA opened 2000 accounts with untraceable bearer share corporations as owner over the past decade. Between 2001 and 2007, it allowed 28,000 transactions involving countries, groups, or individuals against which the US had imposed financial sanctions. These include sale of $1billion of US banknotes to Al Rajhi, a Saudi bank with owners having ties to terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda. Transactions amounting to $881 million were routed on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel and Colombian Norte del Valle cartel. Then, wire transfers totalling $670 billion between HSBC Mexico and HSBC USA were unmonitored. Another $200 trillion went through HSBC USA without anti-money laundering controls or monitoring.

The bank became “the preferred financial institution of drug cartels and money launderers” and as Alex Salmond says, it successfully weathered the recession seemingly by being the bag-man for drug-dealers, terrorists and tax evaders. Proud Scottish banking principles for Salmond to preach?

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Red Capitalists

For much of the last decade, while Bo Xilai, Communist Party chief in the city of Chongqing, a large metropolis with province status, and a member of the Politburo, was busy moving up the ranks of the Communist Party, and even striking populist themes aimed at improving the lot of the poor, his relatives were quietly amassing a fortune estimated at more than $160 million. His elder brother accumulated millions of dollars’ worth of shares in one of the country’s biggest state-owned conglomerates. His sister-in-law owns a significant stake in a printing company she started that was recently valued at $400 million. And even Mr. Bo’s 24-year-old son, now studying at Harvard, got into business in 2010, registering a technology company with $320,000 in start-up capital.

Just a few weeks before his fall from power, Bo Xilai wrote an inscription in calligraphy, praising the Chongqing Water Assets Management Company, and urging support for its operations. What he did not say was that a foundation controlled by his younger brother, Bo Xicheng, had acquired a stake in a subsidiary of the water company. Mr. Bo had done something similar in 2003, while serving as governor here in Liaoning Province. He said his province would make supporting the Dalian Daxian company, a conglomerate engaged primarily in electronics manufacturing, one of the most important tasks of the next five years. A few years earlier, another company controlled by the same younger brother was listed as the owner of nearly a million shares in Dalian Daxian, worth about $1.2 million.

Bo Xilai’s downfall has cast the spotlight on the hidden wealth and power accumulated by the Communist Party’s revolutionary families, and by the sons, daughters, wives and close relatives of the nation’s high-ranking leaders. Two of Bo Xilai’s three brothers are well-established businessmen with close ties to state companies.

 His elder brother, Bo Xiyong, 64, has invested over the years, according to Hong Kong records, in a series of offshore investment vehicles like Advanced Technology and Economic Development, partly owned by a British Virgin Islands entity, and Far Eastern Industries. But little about the companies is publicly available. Bo Xiyong is also vice chairman of China Everbright International, a division of the Everbright Group, a giant state-owned company. His annual salary is about $200,000 and his stake in the company during the past decade is about $10 million, based on shares he has sold and the value of his current stock options, according to public filings. In addition, Bo Xiyong is a deputy of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body, and until recently he served as deputy chairman of HKC Holdings, a Hong Kong company controlled by the family of an Indonesian billionaire. In 2010, the big American private equity firm TPG invested about $25 million in HKC, which specializes in infrastructure and alternative energy projects in China and has won numerous state contracts.

Bo Xicheng, the younger brother, Bo Xicheng has served as a director of several big state-owned companies, including Citic Securities, one of China’s largest investment houses. He is also the founder of a small company that makes fire extinguishers and other equipment, called Beijing Liuhean Firefighting Science and Technology, whose products are used in government agencies, luxury hotels, power plants and in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He has ties to several companies that operated in Dalian and Chongqing, the two cities where Bo Xilai served as a high-ranking official. His charitable foundation, the Beijing Xingda Educational Foundation, has on its board of directors the heads of two real estate developers, the Dalian Huanan Group and Chongqing Tianyou, as well as Weng Zhenjie, the chief executive of the Chongqing International Trust Company. Among the advisers to the foundation, which has already raised more than $20 million, are two academics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who publicly supported Bo Xilai’s “Chongqing model” of development. The foundation owns a $2 million stake in Chongqing Water Group, a company now valued at about $5 billion.

Two of Bo Xilai sisters-in-law - Gu Wangjiang and Gu Wangning - have earned millions of dollars in publishing, real estate and other ventures. Together they own about $120 million worth of shares in the TungKong Security Printing Company in eastern China. The TungKong Web site says the company has contracts with some of China’s biggest state-owned enterprises and government agencies, including the tax authorities and the Central Bank. Gu Wangning also helped Bo Guagua establish a technology company in Beijing in 2010.

Bo Zhiyue, a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore’s East Asian Institute. “The relatives of other party leaders are also doing lots of business deals, and people will begin to ask: What about them? Was the Bo family the only one doing this kind of thing?”

They are conduits of power. Laurence Brahm, a former lawyer who has written books on China’s economy and political scene explained “By virtue of the fact that they are a son or daughter of someone, when they visit the provinces they’ll get red carpet treatment from the leaders there. The businesspeople can tag along.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/world/asia/bo-xilais-relatives-wealth-is-under-scrutiny.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120424

Thursday, March 29, 2012

one law for the rich , another for the poor

Five years ago Scotland’s wealthiest woman Stagecoach tycoon, Ann Gloag, to defend her privacy challenged the right to roam legislation, winning her battle against the Ramblers Association Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council to erect a fence around a 12-acre area of Kinfauns. Yet she is now happy to proposal to build another house which has led her neighbours to complain that it would ruin their privacy and seclusion.

Forestry Commission Scotland also objected, warning authorities that were the scheme to go ahead, it would ruin an area of ancient woodland and was in direct contravention of planning policies.

As part of the local authority’s decision to approve the plans for the new properties, Gloag will pay a £12,790 “education contribution” fee as a condition of the planning permission. The money will be used to fund improvements and increase pupil capacity at the nearby Kinnoull Primary School.

Socialist Courier wonders what does constitutes a bribe?

http://www.scotsman.com/news/ann-gloag-wins-battle-to-extend-stagecoach-empire-1-2201868

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the more you have, the more you can have.

An article worth reading and quoting from by the author Arundhati Roy

"In a nation of 1.2bn, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to a quarter of gross domestic product...
In India, the 300m of us who belong to the new, post-“reforms” middle class – the market – live side by side with the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800m who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than 50 cents a day."

"Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I’d read about this, the most expensive dwelling ever built, the 27 floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the 600 servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn – a soaring wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid...Ambani is personally worth more than $20bn. He has a controlling majority stake in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalisation of Rs2.41tn ($47bn) and an array of global business interests. RIL has a 95 per cent stake in Infotel, which a few weeks ago bought a major share in a media group that runs television news and entertainment channels. Infotel owns the only national 4G broadband licence. He also has a cricket team. RIL is one of a handful of corporations, some family-owned, some not, that run India..."

"...scandal after scandal has exposed, in painful detail, how corporations buy politicians, judges, bureaucrats and media houses, hollowing out democracy, retaining only its rituals. Huge reserves of bauxite, iron ore, oil and natural gas worth trillions of dollars were sold to corporations for a pittance, defying even the twisted logic of the free market. Cartels of corrupt politicians and corporations have colluded to underestimate the quantity of reserves, and the actual market value of public assets, leading to the siphoning off of billions of dollars of public money. Then there’s the land grab – the forced displacement of communities, of millions of people whose lands are being appropriated by the state and handed to private enterprise...
...Having worked out how to manage the government, the opposition, the courts, the media and liberal opinion, what remains to be dealt with is the growing unrest, the threat of “people power”. How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into blind alleys? The largely middle-class, overtly nationalist anti-corruption movement in India led by Anna Hazare is a good example. A round-the-clock, corporate-sponsored media campaign proclaimed it to be “the voice of the people”. It called for a law that undermined even the remaining dregs of democracy. Unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement, it did not breathe a word against privatisation, corporate monopolies or economic “reforms”. Its principal media backers successfully turned the spotlight away from huge corporate corruption scandals and used the public mauling of politicians to call for the further withdrawal of discretionary powers from government, for more reforms and more privatisation..."

"...
Capitalism’s real gravediggers, it turns out, are not Marx’s revolutionary proletariat but its own delusional cardinals, who have turned ideology into faith. They seem to have difficulty comprehending reality or grasping the science of climate change, which says, quite simply, that capitalism (including the Chinese variety) is destroying the planet..."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pigs in the trough

Finance Secretary John Swinney, whose main home is in his North Tayside constituency, bought the four-bedroom apartment on one of the capital’s most desirable streets for £355,000 in December 2003 while SNP leader. At the time, the two-storey terraced property was the most expensive second home ever bought by an MSP. Mr Swinney, who earns £100,000 a year, used parliamentary allowances to pay the interest on his RBS mortgage, ultimately claiming more than £60,000 from the public purse. He also claimed around £10,000 to pay council tax for the Band G property on Morningside’s Hermitage Terrace. (Only former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott used Holyrood expenses to maintain a more expensive second home after buying a £380,000 house in 2005.)

The sales prospectus praised its “magnificent” 23-foot drawing room, private front garden, “delightful leafy outlook” over Blackford Hill to the rear and it was sold for £430,000 was made to Registers of Scotland on August 1. After capital gains tax, Mr Swinney made a profit of around £57,000. Mr Swinney’s gain on the property is one of the largest ever recorded by an MSP.

The largest was made by fellow SNP minister Alex Neil, who made £105,505 before tax when he sold up last year, after billing taxpayers for more than £87,000 for mortgage interest, security, utilities, council tax, factoring and insurance on a two-bedroom flat over a decade. Mr Neil’s ministerial responsibilities at the time included affordable housing and homelessness. He and his wife had stumped up just £4720 for a deposit on the property.

Swinney and Neil’s claims were made under the Scottish Parliament’s discredited Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance, which paid for MSPs to stay overnight in the capital.
Some stayed in hotels or rented flats, but some bought homes, reclaimed mortgage interest, and sold at a profit. Past beneficiaries of EAA who sold for a profit include former LibDem deputy first minister Jim Wallace, who made £69,400 before tax; Tory MSP Alex Johnstone (£60,000); SNP MSP Gil Paterson (£50,000); and former SNP homelessness minister Stewart Maxwell (£34,500). After an outcry over MSPs cashing in, since May they have only been able to claim for rent or hotel costs. The change is prompting some MSPs to sell.

Announcing a Treasury-imposed £1.3 billion cut in public spending in February, the Scottish Cabinet Minister Swinney said “Hard choices must be made.” Now he has made one of those "hard"choices, making a lot of unearned money while he’s currently freezing public-sector salaries and squeezing public services.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/swinney-makes-75k-out-of-home-sell-off-1.1117785

Thursday, January 13, 2011

that's clever!

Inverclyde Council spent £650,000 in order to make savings of just £250,000.

Four senior local government officials, all of whom receive salaries of between £75,000 and £105,000, have been suspended after paying consultants hundreds of thousands of pounds to deliver savings that failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh the city’s new chief executive has said the disaster-hit trams project must go ahead because too much money has been spent to cancel it.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First the greasy pole, now the gravy train

Former Labour Cabinet minister and Celtic chairman Lord John Reid made expenses claims for chauffeur-driven travel of £4,000 to ferry the former home secretary to 14 matches and football stadiums across Scotland to watch his team.

Despite claims the peer needed the travel arrangements for security reasons, the journeys are understood to have been made unaccompanied by any police officers or drivers trained in protection. Chauffeurs usually picked up Lord Reid either at his home or Glasgow Airport, drove him to the ground, waited, then took him back home or to an airport. The cost of Lord Reid's travel included a £1,376 bill for two fixtures - against Hearts at Celtic Park and a clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie. A further £723 was spent on trips to Celtic Park - including the day of the club's annual general meeting - or the team's training ground.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said "Lord Reid is the chairman of Celtic Football Club and it surely should fall to that club to shoulder the costs of his attendance at matches and training grounds."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One rule for you , another rule for us

Got a lot of commuter travelling time between home and work ? Don't worry , House of Parliament will pick up the bill . Or they do for the Labour Party Minister of Employment , Tony McNulty , who has been claiming second-home expenses on a London house where just as it happens his parents live.

The MP lived in the house in Harrow with his parents before then moved into her home about eight miles away in Hammersmith, west London. Under parliamentary rules Mr McNulty can claim an allowance for a second home in his constituency even though it is only 11 miles from Westminster. The MPs' Additional Costs Allowance of up to £24,000 a year goes to MPs from outside inner London to cover the cost of staying away from their main home when carrying out parliamentary duties.

McNulty and his wife, Christine Gilbert, the chief schools inspector, have a combined annual income of more than £300,000 and between them own two London homes worth £1.2m.

he compared the defence of his actions to the excuses given by Nazi war criminals, who said they were “only obeying orders”.
“It is not against the rules – though I suppose you might say that is the Nuremberg defence,” he is reported to have said. He said he had decided to stop claiming the second-home allowance in January after he had “reflected” on the issue.

Another Labour Party mnister , Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, is under investigation for claiming £20,000 a year in expenses, arguing that a home she shares with her sister in London was her “principal residence”.

And what the hell , lets keep it all in the family . One third of government ministers employ a member of their family at taxpayers' expense, an official document revealed today. Jacqui Smith employs her husband Richard Timney as a Commons researcher based in her Redditch constituency.

The Labour Party - the party where all the members have their sticky fingers in the pie .

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

one law for the rich , another law for the poor

From the Sunday Herald columnist Tom Shields and we have to agree much of what he wrote


A TORY MP is caught paying £82,000 from public funds in wages to his Hooray Henry sons; money for which they had done little or no work. The MP is suspended for 10 days on full pay. He is ordered to repay £13,000, leaving a nice little profit of £69,000 from this creative accountancy.
But he did say sorry to the House of Commons. He said: "The committee the committee on standards and privileges; that's as in many privileges and few standards was entitled to reach the conclusions that it did and I have accepted its criticisms in full. I unreservedly apologise to the House for my administrative shortcomings and the misjudgements I made."
The MP will be allowed to sit out the remaining time (potentially until May 2010) of this parliament, receiving £120,000 in wages and God knows how much extra in expenses.

Meanwhile, not so long ago, a Glasgow single mother appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court after claiming £18,000 in housing benefits to which she was not entitled. She admitted making the false applications after her husband left her. She used the money to pay her mortgage so that she would not have to leave the area and move her autistic son from his special-needs school.
She was jailed for a year. Sheriff Charles McFarlane QC opined: "This is a serious matter which resulted in collecting a significant amount of money for a considerable time. A custodial sentence is the only one for what was a blatant crime on your part."
The woman collapsed as she was led down to the cells.

Derek Conway MP did so to fund a champagne lifestyle for his sons Freddie and Henry. The woman took the money to make life a little more bearable for her son.

Another typical case: a woman was hauled before Chester crown court accused of making fraudulent claims. She had received £74,000 in benefits over 11 years. This is almost as much as the Conway family coined in, but the circumstances were somewhat different. The woman had brought up seven children, five of her own plus two of her late sister's. Her crime was that she did not declare that for one of those 11 years she had a job as a cleaner.
The judge, obviously a perspicacious kind of fellow, said in handing out a nine-month suspended jail sentence: "I take into account the fact your life wasn't easy and you were trying to care for your family. This was not a lavish lifestyle funded by fraud."
He also said: "This is a very serious offence." Obviously, society cannot tolerate a woman taking a wee cleaning job on the side to feed her seven weans.

The honourable gentleman should face criminal charges for misuse of public funds. Henry and Freddie should be in the dock for knowingly accepting money under false pretences. Mrs Colette Conway is also in the frame. As her husband's secretary (on £40,000 a year) she must have been aware of what was going on.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Northern on the Rocks

Northern Rock , the bank that is in crisis , has been paying a number of its senior managers secret bonuses according to a report in the Independent .

The bank has sanctioned millions of pounds in confidential "retention bonuses" to managers and management board directors deemed "essential to its continuing excellent operational performance". Some 173 staff out of a workforce of more than 6,000 have been paid the bonuses. An outlay of more than £2 million a month on bonuses to this select band of employees.

As the saying goes "The Devil protects his own"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blair - politican for hire


Tony Blair has taken a part-time post with US investment bank JPMorgan , one of Wall Street's leading banks, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co, a global financial services firm with assets of $1.5 trillion (£760billion) and operations in more than 50 countries. Blair has been employed "in a senior advisory capacity", the bank said ,

Advising the bank on the "political and economic changes that globalisation brings" according to Blair himself .


It is not known how much JPMorgan will pay him, but some estimates say more than $1m (£500,000) a year. The bank said he had a "unique perspective".


Blair would advise the firm's chief executive and senior management team, "drawing on his immense international experience to provide the firm with strategic advice and insight on global political issues and emerging trends... Our firm will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience," the bank said.


Blair earlier told the Financial Times he planned to take up "a small handful" of similar roles with other companies in different sectors.
"I have always been interested in commerce and the impact of globalisation. Nowadays, the intersection between politics and the economy in different parts of the world, including the emerging markets, is very strong."


As prime minister he was always a representative of the capitalist class and now , without the need to disguise the fact to the British elector , Blair can openly and shamelessly promote world capitalist interests .

Friday, December 07, 2007

Price fixing at your local supermarket

Always first with the news , Socialist Courier reported here the Capitalist Scam of supposed rivals and competitors co-operating to fix prices of goods to extract extra profits .

And lo and behold , what should appear on the BBC , but the revelation that Sainsbury's and Asda have admitted fixing the price of milk and cheese and who along with a number of dairy firms, have agreed to pay fines totalling at least £116 million following an inquiry by the Office of Fair Trading . Cases against Tesco and Morrisons will continue after no deal was struck.

The OFT said that its evidence found that while dairy product prices went up after the collusion, the price received by farmers did not increase. The price fixing saw customers being charged 3p extra for a pint of milk and 15p extra per quarter-pound of butter. Customers also being allegedly overcharged 15p per half-pound of cheese .

In September, the watchdog provisionally found evidence of collusion by 10 firms relating to price-setting in 2002 and 2003. Now Sainsbury's and Asda have admitted price-fixing of milk and cheese, as has Safeway - before it was bought by Morrisons. Safeway has also admitted colluding on the price of butter. Dairy product processors Dairy Crest, the Cheese Company and Wiseman Dairies were also fined .

So , indeed, "Every Little Helps" "That ASDA Price"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Price Fixers


Capitalism is all about competition , right ? Wrong , if these stories are to go by .

Four of the world's biggest glass manufacturers have been fined a total of £348.2million for illegally co-ordinating price rises. The firms are Guardian of the US, Pilkington, which is the UK unit of Nippon Sheet Glass, Saint-Gobain of France and Belgium's Glaverbel. The European Commission said the firms had raised or stabilised prices in 2004 and 2005 through illicit contacts.

Between them they control 80% of Europe's market for flat glass. Flat glass is used in products such as windows, glass doors and mirrors.

Then there was this in Canada too

Regulators have launched an investigation into allegations of price-fixing by some of the biggest makers of chocolate bars in Canada. Officials from the Canadian divisions of Nestle, Cadbury, Hershey and Mars confirmed the probe is underway.

"We can confirm that we are investigating alleged anticompetitive practices in the chocolate confectionery industry," said the Competition Bureau's John Pecman. "The volume of commerce affected here is definitely potentially in the billions of dollars per year."

And there was this in Australia , as well .

Australian airline Qantas has been fined US$61 million in the United States after it admitted price-rigging freight costs between Australia and the United States. Qantas plead guilty for its role in a price-fixing conspiracy and is the third airline to admit to wrongdoing after British Airways and Korean Air Lines in August pleaded guilty to similar charges.British Airways and Korea Air Lines were each ordered to pay fines of US$300 million for their roles in passenger and freight price fixing conspiracies. The charges say that Qantas participated in meetings, conversations and communications in the US and elsewhere to fix cargo rates on trans-Pacific routes.During the period the breaches occurred Qantas was the biggest cargo carrier between Australia and the US, earning more than $US600 million from trans-Pacific freight.

And another in the USA

A class-action lawsuit was filed against six monitor manufacturers on Tuesday, alleging the companies of being a "global cartel" involved in price-fixing of CRT monitors. The prices of CRT monitors should have fallen as technologically superior products were introduced such as LCD monitors . Instead, for almost a decade, we have seen periods of unnatural and sustained price stability, as well as inexplicable increases in the prices of CRTs . The complaint alleges collusive behavior by the manufacturers, causing the plaintiff and direct purchasers to overpay for CRT monitors.

Yet again , in Australia

Teac is the latest local company successfully prosecuted for price fixing by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after investigations into Topfield set top boxes and Optima computers.The ACCC recently convicted another set top box manufacturer, Topfield, of similar price-fixing charges and fined the company $297,500. The owner of the brand's Australian distributor, Jai Kemp, was also personally fined over $17,000 for his involvement in the misdemeanor.Optima Computers was also prosecuted by the ACCC in December last year for resale price maintenance.According to the Current.com.au report, products sold through The Good Guys, Retravision and Leading Edge were investigated after a complaint was made to the ACCC about alleged resale price maintenance. Optima admitted it had told two of its dealers they should top discounting and raise their prices for Optima computers to Optima's recommended retail prices. The dealers were threatened with having the supply of Optima products withheld or their dealership cancelled.

And in South Africa

Bread is a basic commodity. The anti-competitive practices involving a basic commodity like bread disproportionately affects the poor. On November 12, Tiger Brands was ordered to pay a R98,7-million fine by the Competition Commission after admitting to participating in bread and milling cartels.

In France kids suffered when French trading standards office DGCCRF has called for 10 retailers and 6 manufacturers in the toy market to be fined over price-fixing. The companies under investigation include Carrefour, France's largest retail group, and Danish toy maker Lego.

Just a brief google search has produced the above recent scams . Need we go on ?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hypocrisy


BAE Systems will pay Lord Woolf, the former Chief Justice, up to £468,000 over the next nine months to chair an inquiry into the defence company's business ethics . Lord Woolf said he would be paid £6,000 a day for his work on the inquiry, which is likely to consume two days a week for the next six to nine months.

Well , the Socialist Courier will save BAE time and money .

Ethically , the arms industry are no better than glorified gun-running murderers . A corrupt , immoral business and a bane on civilisation , that is out to get a quick and extremely lucrative profit from war and the fear of war .

Lord Woolf's role is to place a cloak of respectabilty around a killing industry .


BAE has no ethics .

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...