In a terrific article for Canadian Business called ‘The crackdown,’ John Lorinc says that after decades of turning a blind eye, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are going after companies that bribe foreigners.
‘SNC-Lavalin was just the start,’ according to Lorinc. ‘Dozens of firms are now waiting for the Mounties’ knock on the boardroom door.’
Here’s a great paragraph with lessons from the Siemens saga:
If Canadian corporations want to peer into the abyss, they need only ponder the fate of Siemens AG, the global tech and manufacturing giant. Targeted by German and U.S. investigators in the mid-2000s, the venerable firm became embroiled in a sensational scandal that would eventually cost it an astonishing $1.6 billion in fines—the largest corruption penalty anywhere, ever. Siemens’ own internal investigation—1,700 employee interviews, 14 million documents, and 38 million financial transactions checked—revealed the staggering size and pervasiveness of the rot. The company had “cash desks” where employees could withdraw huge amounts with which to bribe local officials: $18.7 million in Venezuela, $5 million in Bangladesh, $15 million in Argentina; the list goes on and on. As a summary of the investigation notes, such practices were neither isolated nor the handiwork of low-level managers. “Problems existed, albeit to differing degrees, across several Siemens operating groups.”