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Ford Employees Accused of Bribery in Country Where Bribery Was Tax-Deductible Until 1997

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According to the Wall Street Journal, "German prosecutors said some 100 police officers raided offices at Ford Motor Co.'s assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, and other nearby sites Monday in connection with a probe into an alleged bribery scheme involving some of the auto makers' staff and suppliers."

Prosecutor Christina Pohlen tells the paper that "individual employees, not the auto maker itself, were the focus of the investigation, which was launched in September and involve allegations that Ford workers accepted bribes from third-party contractors and other would-be suppliers."

Now, if only they had paid bribes rather than receiving them, everything would have been A-OK. Well, up until a few years ago, it would've been. See, until 1997, bribes paid--even to foreign officials--by German companies were tax-deductible. Yes, paying people off was a write-off. And the Germans turned it into a veritable art form.

The Journal mentions two other recent cases, both involving automakers, as well.

Two personnel managers and a former labor representative at Volkswagen were convicted of bribing labor leaders with cash payments, sex parties with prostitutes, and other unspecified perks. And Daimler executives were accused of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to secure overseas business, which ended with the company paying $185 million in a settlement last March.

Of course, old habits die hard. And hell, if a guy can't bribe his way to success once in a while, then the terrorists really have won.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.