Friday, November 09, 2007

Doesn't this sound familiar?

I had a moment of deja vu when I read this bit at White Collar Crime Prof's blog:

Yet Another FCPA Case - Individual Pleads Guilty

On the heels of a Fifth Circuit Appellate decision affirming a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) conviction (here), the DOJ reports on a plea to a FCPA charge. The press release states that "[a] former executive of a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc. (WGI) has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe officials of the government of Nigeria with more than $6 million in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)." The press release notes that this former executive admitted that "[t]hese payments were offered and made to officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (the Nigerian state-owned oil company) and its subsidiary, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, a Nigerian political party, and a senior official in the executive branch of the Nigerian federal government, in order to assist in securing a major gas pipeline construction contract in Nigeria." Willbros Group Inc. had announced the sale of its Nigerian Operations back in February of 2007 (see here).

Jeepers, where have I seen chatter about Nigeria and bribery and corrupt practices before?

Could it have been about Cheney and Halliburton?

Why didn't the DOJ make any formal announcement about the status of the investigation into Halliburton?

Wouldn't have anything to do with a corrupt and weakened DOJ, now, would it?

Can't wait to watch Mukasey ignore this, too, just like Cheney's accessory, I mean, his predecessor at DOJ.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Massive dose of hypocrisy

I got this from my brokerage firm this morning:

MarketWatch News
Lawmakers want closer look at Google, DoubleClick merger
4:22 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- A group of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives called Tuesday for a hearing on Google Inc.'s planned merger with DoubleClick, to extend a public inquiry that has included a related Senate committee hearing in September.

A dozen House members including Rep. Dennis Hastert, Rep. Charles Pickering and Rep. Cliff Stearns sent a letter to Bobby Rush, a Democrat and chairman of the subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection, calling for a "rigorous examination" of privacy issues related to the planned merger, "as soon as practicable."

Rush had originally called for such a hearing in July.

The Republican House members said the hearing is needed to examine the "enormous privacy implications" related to combining Google's database of users' search queries with DoubleClick's "online user behavioral profile" database.

In a contentious Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights hearing a little more than one month ago, Google chief legal officer David Drummond defended the proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, arguing that the two companies are complementary, rather than direct comp etitors.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, also testifying at the hearing, countered that the deal would unfairly grant Google a dominant position in the online advertising industry.

In their letter Tuesday, Republican lawmakers complained that "more questions arose than were answered" during the Senate subcommittee hearing regarding privacy issues.

Microsoft has vigorously campaigned against Google's acquisition of DoubleClick since the deal was first announced in April.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has sealed its own, related acquisition, paying $6 billion for online advertising specialist aQuantive.

[Bold mine.]

What sheer balls.

First, the very notion that Republicans -- the party that brought you domestic spying and the piking of FISA -- are worried about privacy.

Second, Microsoft, the company that has dominated desktops across this country for over a decade -- worried about market domination.

There aren't even words for this kind of chutzpah.

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