October 3, 2011


New expose on Koch brothers (MJ LEE, 10/3/1, Politico)

According to Bloomberg's early glance at the still-unpublished article, Koch Industries sent a newly hired compliance officer and ethics manager to investigate one of its subsidiaries in southern France in May 2008. Within days, Ludmila Egorova-Farines discovered multiple cases of bribery and notified her American supervisors.

By September, the Koch Industries' internal team confirmed evidence of reportedly improper payments in six countries dating to 2002 that had been authorized by the company's affiliate in France. "Those activities constitute violations of criminal law," the company wrote in December 2008 in a letter detailing its findings.

Following these revelations, Egorova-Farines, accused of being incompetent, was fired in June 2009, Bloomberg reports. She later sued for wrongful termination.

Melissa Cohlmia, the company's director of corporate communications, said in a statement that the company fired employees and sales agents who were involved in the illicit payments. "Given the regulatory complexity of our business, we will, like any business, have issues that arise. When we fall short of our goals, we take steps to correct and address the issues in order to ensure compliance," she wrote.

Koch Industries has also sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, Bloomberg found. According to internal company documents, the company thwarted a U.S. trade ban that barred American companies from selling materials to Iran by making the sales through foreign subsidiaries. The products sold helped build a methanol facility in Iran.

But Cohlmia said that during the time period covered in the magazine's piece, "U.S. law allowed foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational companies to engage in trade involving countries subject to U.S. trade sanctions, including Iran, under certain conditions." Cohlmia added that all of the company's units have stopped trading with Iran.

Are there any revelations in the story that don't come from Koch investigating itself?

Posted by at October 3, 2011 7:02 PM

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