Corporate corruption expert speaks at CCS lecture

  • 20 June 2008

The 2008 Commercial Crime Services (CCS) Annual Economic Crime Lecture, held 19 June in London, addressed the complex issue of corporate corruption.

Featured speaker Laurence Cockcroft, chairman of Transparency International (UK), examined the numerous challenges that companies face while trying to remain both honest and aggressive.

Mr Cockcroft examined a number of specific case studies, highlighting the pervasiveness of corporate corruption. He provided facts and figures in support of his case that four major corporations, Siemens, ABB Baker Hughes, BAE Systems, Chevron, each used a definite and specific strategy of bribery to expand market share.

CCS Director Pottengal Mukundan commented: “Mr Cockcroft presented a great deal of expert information detailing the scope of this global problem. A constant and increasing threat to law and order and business ethics, corporate corruption remains a topic of significant international concern. CCS is pleased that Mr Cockcroft was able to bring a wealth of information on the subject to this year’s annual Economic Crime Lecture.”

In this lecture, Mr Cockcroft argued that while significant efforts have been made in the areas of legislation, regulation, and even voluntary business codes, high profile corporate corruption persists and major cases continue to be reported around the globe.

In support of his thesis, Mr Cockcroft cited the findings of a 2006 Control Risks Group survey which found that 22% of UK companies surveyed, and 28% of German companies surveyed said they believed that they had failed to win a contract or gain new business during the past 12 months because a competitor had paid a bribe. In Hong Kong the figure was considerably higher, at 66%. 42% of Brazilian respondents felt the same way.

Lack of awareness of rules and regulations relating to international business ethics was introduced as a factor contributing to global corporate corruption. Statistics supporting this case indicate that in Brazil, for example, 70% of those surveyed admitted being totally ignorant of legislation covering foreign bribery. In France, the figure was 54% and in the UK 48%.

Mr Mukundan added; “Conference attendees found Mr Cockcroft’s lecture highly insightful. CCS supports his conclusions that global anti-corruption measures must be made a higher priority and receive increased support by international and national regulatory authorities.