130907, GlaxoSmithKline & Wheel-greasing in China and in the USA
September 6th, 2013 [also GlaxoSmithKline]
A Forum devoted to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (visited 8 Sept. 2013).
Hardly a Smoking Gun
Reuters and other media outlets have carried forward Chinese state media reports as follows. “A Chinese police investigation into drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has discovered that alleged bribery of doctors in China was coordinated by the British company and was not the work of individual employees.”
The smoking gun?
Apparently GSK ”had set goals for annual sales growth as high as 25 percent. That rate was 7 to 8 percentage points above the average growth rate for the industry” [according to one of GSK’s detained executives] and “GSK implemented salary policies based on sales volumes and such goals could not be achieved without “dubious corporate behavior.”
That is hardly a smoking gun.
The article in the South China Morning Post titled “Beijing Weighing Large Fines Against GlaxoSmithKline quotes from the China Ministry of Public Security website which states: “We should learn from the practice of other countries in imposing astronomical fines.”
Read in addition: Wheel-greasing in China and in the USA, same source]
From Jonathan Weil’s Bloomberg View column:
“In the U.S., companies hire powerful people’s children all the time for reasons beyond their obvious skill set. (Chelsea Clinton working at a hedge fund?) And they don’t just bother with the kids — they hire the powerful people themselves. (Do you think Larry Summers got a high-paying job at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw because of his skills as a trader?)
If the feds are going to target wheel-greasing in China — where it can be difficult to get business done without bribing somebody — does this mean we need a Domestic Corrupt Practices Act, too? In Colorado, JPMorgan used to employ Chris Romer as a banker. His father, Roy Romer, was the state’s governor for 12 years. Did that help Chris Romer get hired? It couldn’t have hurt. Do we need a law against this? Of course not.
There are certain facts of life that aren’t worth bringing in the FBI to check out. When rich people with teenage children give millions of dollars to elite universities, there’s a good chance they want special attention from the admissions office for their kids, if not an outright guarantee they will get in. And when owners of companies hire senators’ kids for internships, they probably would like to meet the parents someday.
Perhaps what JPMorgan did in China was worse. We don’t know yet. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The decision of whether to hire someone often has less to do with that person’s qualifications than it does with who they are. Life isn’t fair — not in the U.S. and not in China.”