Saturday, December 04, 2004

A wad of dollars, and a ‘corporate’ scandal

The Economist correspondent in Congo is driving around in Goma, a town in Congo, when a mob mistakes him for a member of the UN peacekeeping force. They smash the windows of his car, and try to strangle him. How does he escape? “[B]y pulling a wad of dollars out of his sock and throwing it in the air, and then driving off in the ensuing maul.”

Read the full story here, in which the correspondent, having survived, tells us of why the UN peacekeepers are hated so much there – because of “revelations that some peacekeepers have been sexually molesting Congolese children.” Apparently, “the UN has launched an investigation which insiders say will seek to discover whether MONUC [the peacekeeping force] has been penetrated by organised paedophiles who recruit their friends.”

The UN is taking quite a battering these days. In Rocky Mountain News, Dave Kopel asks:

Suppose that a big corporation headquartered in New York City were the center of the largest embezzlement scheme in world history ($21 billion), which enriched big oil companies, foreign dictators, terrorists, and its own employees. Further, suppose that the corporation's own union had declared its lack of confidence in the corporation's management, because of endemic corruption, and because of senior management's lax attitude towards sexual abuse, including coercive sex with underage girls.

Also suppose that the son of the company president was getting paid by another business that profited from the embezzlement scheme, and the company president had claimed that his son's affiliation ended in 1999, but actually the son continued with the business until 2004. And suppose that the company president and his staff were obstructing government investigations into their own corruption. Oh, and let's also suppose that the corporate president and his underlings had attempted to influence the recent U.S. presidential election.

Yes, we know who he’s talking about, of course. So in case someone ever mistakes you for an employee of the UN, make sure you remember about the stash in your sock.

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