Monday, June 18, 2012

Chris Kilowan And The Bribery Allegations Against MTN In Iran

I just spent quite a bit of time dissecting the Reuters report on the deposition given by former MTN executive Chris Kelowan.
He has made a good case that MTN and even the South African government conspired to defeat sanctions to help Iran. As a matter of interest boh General Electric and Halliburton were caught a couple of years ago by US authorities having ongoing offices and substantial investments and sales in Iran. How did the US authorities react?
1) Nobody was arrested for any violation of criminal laws.
2) No company or individual was cited for a civil fine or a penalty.
3) No US government contracts were taken rom these major US corporations.
4) All that happened was that the US Justice Department ordered the two big US companies to as follows; "To wind up their operations in Iran within 5 years."
Some 20 years ago I was active in the international trade sector in South Africa. I am pleased to report that when a South African company is working on a deal in another country, the South African government "rolls up its sleeves" and works like hell to get the company the deal it is seeking. This is one of the few areas of government where the taxpayer "truly gets his/her money's worth!" I never saw a case where bribery or corruption to obtain a deal was used or even considered. I suspect that the situation is the same today.
There was no real substantial evidence of MTN actually paying bribes to Iranian officials. Perhaps some of the Iranian companies did pay these bribes. That is an internal matter for the Iranian authorities. I suspect that the penalty for bribing public officials in Iran is hanging. By the way, hangings in Iran are carried out in a most barbaric manner. The condemned person has a metal rope put around their neck. A crane then lifts the metal rope. As a further matter of interest Iran is the number one country in the world in per capital executions per 100,000 population. So Iranians use the death penalty quite often.
One has to ask how much money Turkcell has paid and promised to Mr. Kilowan.
The bottomline is this case is not good. If I had some extra cash right now I'd be buying MTN shares.

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