Saturday, May 16, 2009

Corporate Black Money

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"Over the past two years, the U.S. government has collected almost a billion and a half dollars in fines in foreign bribery cases" says Mark Mendelsohn, the Department of Justice prosecutor in charge of more than 100 ongoing cases, one of which culminated in a record seven-year prison term for the former CEO of a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corp., and another which ended in a record $800 million fine against the German giant Siemens. "There's a whole world of conduct that rarely sees the light of day."

In Black Money, FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman investigates this shadowy side of international business, shedding light on multinational companies that have routinely made secret payments -- often referred to as "black money" -- to win billions in business.

"The thing about black money is you can claim it's being used for all kinds of things," the British reporter David Leigh tells Bergman. "You get pots of black money that nobody sees, nobody has to account for, ... you can do anything you like with. Mostly what happens with black money is people steal it because they can."

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