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朗讯行贿案揭开跨国公司在华贿赂黑幕(原创评论)  

2007-12-26 17:33:57|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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随着电信设备巨头阿尔卡特朗讯(以下简称“朗讯”)就涉嫌在中国行贿一事日前经美国司法部曝光,更多的跨国公司在中国行贿案也渐渐浮出水面。通过贿赂的手段在竞争中获利,或者是通过变相的行贿达到政府公关的目的,以前总是和不争气的民族企业联系在一起,而现在我们发现连跨国企业也不能免俗。

那么我们的问题是:这些贿赂指向那些交易和哪些领域?这些贿赂的背后,损害的是谁的利益?

但是现在我们还要无奈地依靠别人(美国司法部)来料理我们的家事。这是不是有点滑稽。

在近十年的多达五十万件腐败案调查中,有六成四涉及国际贸易和外商。跨国企业在华行贿的事件近十年来一直上 升,中国在十年内至少调查了五十万件腐败案件,其中64%与国际贸易和外商有关。而在已曝光的案件中不乏西门子、家乐福、IBM等著名跨国企业。此次被曝 光的朗讯公司更可谓是“二进宫”,早在2004年4月,该公司中国区总裁等四名高管就由于提供回扣而被解职。

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美国的一家调查机构给中国的跨国企业贿赂总结了三个特点。

其一,依公开的信息来看,案件的调查、处 理都是由海外司法部门主导进行,国内司法部门罕见参与。跨国公司行贿案涉及的深度和广度也是让中国的司法机关无法报纸客观和公正立场的原因之一。

其二,与海外行贿方被查处不同,国内的受贿方的情况往往被人为遮掩,罕见被依法追究的案例。道理其实很简单,跨国公司不仅仅是在中国有这样的贿赂,在他们全球布局的过程中,行贿的手法已经被运用到了炉火纯青,变相的跨国考察,人员培训,或者各种顾问费用和公关 行为使行贿和受贿都变得无迹可寻,无案可立。

其三, 涉案的跨国公司在解释其“行贿”行为时,都认为这是在中国开展业务的必然选择,是“本土化”的表现。在朗讯案发后,朗讯总部解雇了其在中国的4名高管,这只不过是找一些替罪羊而已。

难道你要说我们在美国是守法的好公民,是中国的潜规则让我们不得不行贿。这能说得通吗?因为同样的事情也发生在日本,印度,法国。“为了利润,资本家会挺而走险。“贿赂只不过是其中的一个手段罢了。

星岛日报的报道说:这三点共性因素是相互联系的:国内现实商业活动中的贿赂问题的确是普遍存在的,比朗讯所采取的“旅游观光”更加直接的“拿回扣、红包”等行为已 是频频曝光。而商业贿赂之所以成为一种行业内部的“潜规则”,又与国内打击商业贿赂工作不到位直接相关。跨国公司是因为海内外司法制度的不同,才屡屡成为 众矢之的。如果这样的体制继续维持,即便跨国公司的贿赂案件再多被曝光,也无助于商业贿赂问题的根本解决,甚至反而因为跨国公司的卷入,让商业贿赂行为显 得更加“合理化”和肆无忌惮。

http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/324663/2/istockphoto_324663_bribery.jpghttp://www1.worldbank.org/devoutreach/september06/images24/corruption-poster.jpg

但是,这和司法制度的完善与否没有太直接的关系。因为对利润本身的追求决定了这些公司要想尽办法来找法律的空子。如果法律完善,那他们也有其他的手段,雇凶专家和团体进行游说,利用中方合作伙伴向政府施压。然后,再把这一部分成本转嫁给消费者。

可见,必须要采取更加积极的行动来解决商业贿赂问题,而打破这一恶性循环的关键,在于国内司法体制不能只做看客,而是要挺身而出依法打击商业贿赂行为。在这一点上,当年日本的经验值得中国汲取。

1976年2月,美国洛克希德公司被曝光使用1210万美元贿金获得了全日本航空公司(简称“全日空”)4.3亿美元的交易合同。洛克希德公司 总裁科特奇恩虽因此辞职,但他随后发表文章,认为商业贿赂现象在日本十分普遍,甚至已经得到全日本社会的默许。这一说法在日本社会引起极大震动,当时的总 理大臣三木武夫表示要彻底调查此案。随后,日本东京地方检察厅、警示厅和国税局共同介入调查,历经近六年的努力,受到传讯调查的460余人中包括国会议 员、内阁官员、全日空和丸红公司的高管。至1983年10月案件审理完毕时,涉案的前内阁总理大臣田中角荣被判有期徒刑4年,并追缴罚金5亿日元。

让商业贿赂的“潜规则”继续大行其道,最终通过转嫁成本的方式,让社会公众成为最终的买单者。


我们不是看客,但是我们已经喜欢了当旁观者。当美国司法部在调查跨国企业在中国的腐败时,我们大多数人仍然为跨国公司已经有多少家在中国落户,已经有多少家在中国设立地区总部而欢欣鼓舞。


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Lucent bribery allegations highlight business risks in China

Allegations that sacked Lucent Technologies senior executives in China broke US anti-corruption laws by offering bribes highlight the risk for foreign multinationals of doing business in China.

Despite official pledges to stamp out rampant corruption, China is a country where graft is rife, commercial laws underdeveloped and the legal system is subject to the whims of the ruling communist party's mandarins, experts say.

"China has a bad reputation for corruption according to our surveys," said Bob Broadfoot, managing director at Political and Economic Risk Consultancy in Hong Kong.

"Perceptions were worse five years ago but they are still bad," he said, adding that the Lucent case was by no means exclusive to the telecommunications industry.

In China it is common for those bidding for business to offer potential customers kickbacks ranging from education overseas for senior executives' children, gifts of residential property, to cars and paid holiday travel.

Chinese government efforts to stamp out such practices have met with opposition and disobedience, particularly at the local government level where bribery is firmly entrenched.

"So many people at the local level do things in a manner that could be considered corrupt. But the Communist Party would threaten to undermine its grassroots support base (if it launched a crackdown)," Broadfoot said.

Foreign and domestic firms often chose to accept these incentives demanded and viewed as routine by customers, as a cost of doing business in what is potentially the world's largest market.

http://www.mises.org/images4/LawsonWoodBribery.jpg

Low wages, competition, pressure to cut costs and a relatively low risk of detection means corruption is almost unavoidable in China, said Duncan Clark, managing director at BDA China Ltd, a telecom consultancy firm.

Thus increasingly fierce competition in China's telecommunications industry may be forcing some companies to resort to off the book payments in order to win contracts, Duncan added.

So far it remains unclear what sort of consequences Lucent could face as a result of its sacking of four top executives in China last Tuesday after the telecommunications equipment maker reported potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Under the US law that forbids bribe payments, US companies can be fined up to two million dollars and individuals up to 100,000 dollars along with a five-year jail term.

The problems found at Lucent's China operations followed a worldwide probe sparked by corruption at the company's Saudi Arabia offices.

While it is unlikely that the investigation will significantly impact Lucent's financial results, China is estimated to make about 10 percent of the US-based group's 8.47 billion dollars of 2003 fiscal sales.

Lucent itself has warned that for the time being it could not ascertain the impact the matter could have on the company's future business operations in China, which also is the company's largest non-US source of revenue.

Contracts in China may be threatened if the corruption allegations are found to be true, said Pat Norton, attorney and partner at O'Melveny Myers in Beijing.

Lucent's main customers such as the big state-owned telecom operators -- China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom and China Mobile are all likely to begin a review process, Norton said.

"If there were improper payments, it might be a reason for one of the parties to try and get out of the contract, particularly if they were already inclined to do so."


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