We were moved — very moved — by the opening scenes from the Beijing Olympics. Part of the fun is seeing the fabulous changes in China since our first visit there 15 years ago. Has any country ever transformed itself so completely in such a short amount of time?
And watching the China – United States basketball game was a kick as well. The Chinese are b-ball fanatics, and it showed. They cheered every point scored by both teams, making the game a love fest in the stands and on the court. The lopsided result (101 – 70 in favor of the Redeem Team) didn’t matter much. More important was all the goodwill in the bleachers and the fine sportsmanship on the floor. The Olympics are still something special.
Turning to business, Eurojustice is on the radar. Eurojustice? It’s an initiative of top prosecutors from all the EU member countries. They’re working together to exchange information about how crimes are investigated and prosecuted in their respective jurisdictions. More importantly, they’re creating an infrastructure for sharing evidence of criminal behavior when it’s spread across several countries.
Since the start of the initiative about five years ago, Eurojustice has consisted mainly of a series of annual conferences and the development of a neat public website. To help member countries understand each other better, they all answered 150 questions about how they investigate and prosecute crimes. The results are posted on the site. It’s a great resource. And the transparency it represents is bound to encourage law enforcement agencies from member countries to work together.
In fact, in what may be Eurojustice’s first publicly acknowledged cooperative effort, Greek, German and Swiss authorities are locking arms on the Siemens case. According to recent stories in the Greek press (here, for example), all three countries want to know “where the money from the German company’s slush fund went.”
The Munich prosecutor’s office, the stories say, invited Greek prosecutors to question former Siemens officials in Germany about allegations that the company paid bribes to politicians in Athens to secure contracts. Greek authorities are also saying they’ll have access to Swiss records. They say they’ll “be able to skirt the laborious procedures demanded (especially by the Swiss authorities) in order to get information regarding bank accounts.”
“This is a very important and unprecedented instance in the annals of Greek justice,” a judicial source said.
Cheers from the bleachers for Eurojustice. It’s showing why compliance by companies doing business in Europe is more important than ever.