jump to navigation

what price corporate responsibility? November 30, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : truth , add a comment

The House of Commons International Development Committee has published a report which is quite critical of BAE Systems’ delay in making payments it promised to make as part of a settlement with respect to “improper book-keeping” with the Serious Fraud Office in 2010:

The Settlement Agreement did not require BAE Systems to make the ex gratia payment by a specified date. We recognise that the payment could not have been made before the conclusion of the Court proceedings on 21 December 2010. Nevertheless, we are concerned that the payment for the ‘benefit of the people of Tanzania’ remained outstanding more than eight months after the Court hearing and that BAE Systems envisaged spreading payment over a period of years, describing the payments as ‘our money’. Following our evidence session, we wrote to the Chairman of BAE Systems, urging the company in the strongest possible terms to pay immediately the full £29.5 million ex gratia payment to the Government of Tanzania in accordance with the proposals made by that Government and endorsed by DFID. Finally, the company agreed. We welcome this decision announced in a letter to the Committee Chair dated 19 August 2011 to make the payment to the Government of Tanzania and subsequent confirmation that it had made arrangements for the payment.

BAE of course believes in corporate responsibility:

Maintaining high standards of business conduct is essential to enhance our overall business performance, build trust, and maintain and improve our reputation with stakeholders.

Its Code of Conduct states that:

To be Trusted we must deliver on our commitments.

Just not all of them, apparently. Or at least not very speedily.

transparency and the public interest: the sec, citigroup, and judge rakoff November 28, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : lies , add a comment

Refusing to approve the SEC’s and Citigroup’s settlement of proceedings Judge Rakoff affirms the court’s right to determine whether a n injunction is in the public interest and rejects the idea that the SEC is the sole determiner of the public interest in the context of consent judgments. He goes further:

when a public agency asks a court to become its partner in enforcement by imposing wide-ranging injunctive remedies on a defendant, enforced by the formidable judicial power of contempt, the court, and the public, need some knowledge of what the underlying facts are: for otherwise, the court becomes a mere handmaiden to a settlement privately negotiated on the basis of unknown facts, while the public is deprived of ever knowing the truth in a matter of obvious public importance….Finally, in any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth. In much of the world, propaganda reigns, and truth is confined to secretive, fearful whispers. Even in our nation, apologists for suppressing or obscuring the truth may always be found. But the S.E.C., of all agencies, has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges; and if fails to do so, this Court must not, in the name of deference or convenience, grant judicial enforcement to the agency’s contrivances.

high pay commission final report November 22, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : markets , add a comment

Cheques with Balances: Why Tackling High Pay is in the National Interest.

pre-announcement of uk’s call for evidence on pfi November 15, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : consultation , add a comment

The UK plans to make a call for evidence on December 1 with a view to amending the private finance initiative. Here’s what the pre-announcement says:

The Government will expect a new delivery model to draw on private sector innovation but at a lower cost to the taxpayer, offering better value for our investment in public services. The Government’s approach to reform will be guided by the following principles, to create a model that:
is less expensive, and that uses private sector innovation to deliver services more cost effectively;
can access a wider range of financing sources, including encouraging a stronger role to be played by pension fund investment;
strikes a better balance between risk and reward to the private sector;
has greater flexibility to accommodate changing public service needs over time;
maintains the incentive on the private sector to deliver capital projects to time and to budget and to take performance risk on the delivery of services;
delivers an accelerated and cheaper procurement process; and
gives greater financial transparency at all levels of the project so that the public sector is confident that it is getting what it paid for, and that the taxpayer is sure it is getting a fair deal now and over the longer term.

Do they really want to encourage pension funds to invest in pfi projects while making investment in such projects less profitable and riskier?

eu food additive video November 14, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : food, multilingualism , add a comment

Video for a multilingual community:

debit card fees: consumer pressure November 3, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : markets , add a comment

Sometimes consumers can have an impact on the behaviour of financial institutions. But it takes a lot of effort to energise citizens around financial regulation and this was one very immediate issue of obvious direct relevance to bank customers. Other more fundamental, larger or more technical issues are much harder to deal with, and there’s a danger that citizens will just disengage from these issues. Molly Katchpole writes:

Despite this huge victory, there’s no way I’m ever going back to Bank of America, or any of the other big banks. The debit card fees were a tipping point for me, though I know that these fees aren’t the worst of the banks’ transgressions. Big banks are still behind the merciless wave of foreclosures rocking the country and providing virtually no help to struggling homeowners. They’re not lending enough to get the stagnant economy moving again; consequently, people like me can’t find full-time work. And they’re still spending millions upon millions to corrupt our government with their influence.

we robot November 2, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : events , add a comment

Call for Papers:

The University of Miami School of Law seeks submissions for “We Robot” – an inaugural conference on legal and policy issues relating to robotics to be held in Coral Gables, Florida on April 21 & 22, 2012. We invite contributions by academics, practitioners, and industry in the form of scholarly papers or presentations of relevant projects.

(Nov. 3: You can see the full call from the link above or here at discourse.net)