Post image for The Year of Karma Revisited in March: Corp Edition

The Year of Karma Revisited in March: Corp Edition

by Minority Fortune

Beware the ides of March.

The very culprits that have the economy almost operating at a standstill are still at it. For the love of profit, companies are engaging in illegal, immoral, and corrupt behavior. As their profits reach record highs, their consumers find more money drained from their accounts. As our country fights to find the loose change floating around, only then is the wool pulled from our eyes. If nothing more, this economy is revealing some soulless companies for the scum that they are.

SEC says Daimler made $56 million in bribe payments

Reported by Reuters, the SEC has unveiled that Daimer has been involved in bribery, forking over $56 million dollars in payments. It’s such a pity because the auto industry certainly didn’t need anymore negative PR, including Daimler. Most of the auto industry has had to cope with a steep decline in demand, including Daimler. In order to increase their market share worldwide, they began engaging in underhanded tactics:

The transactions in at least 22 countries spanned almost a decade and involved at least 6,300 commercial vehicles and some 500 passenger cars, including luxury sedans given to senior foreign government officials, according to the SEC charges.

Some of the payments in question were routed to U.S. bank accounts or to foreign bank accounts of shell companies in the United States, the government has alleged.

In an example of the gifts extended, Daimler tried to curry favor to enter the Turkmenistan market by giving two armored vehicles worth at least 550,000 euros to a senior government official, the SEC said. The company also had a book authored by the official translated into German as a gift.

In another instance, Daimler set aside 11,000 euros to pay for a lavish vacation through Europe including Paris and Venice for six Chinese officials, the SEC said, adding that the company paid for 16 such trips in connection with $120 million in vehicle sales to the Chinese government customers.

Additionally, the SEC accused Daimler of paying kickbacks in the United Nations’ Oil for Food Program in Iraq that earned the company more than $4 million in profits from contracts involving the sale of vehicles and spare parts.

The securities regulator began its probe in 2004 when an auditor complained he was fired for protesting secret bank accounts used to pay foreign officials.

This says just as much about the recipients as it does Daimler. The United Nations? Government officials? This is the definition of corruption. People’s lives and jobs are affected by these people’s actions. While this company is feeling the heat from the SEC, they along with their recipients should be getting more negative press on this issue. Until these vile beings are removed from their positions, the underhanded payments under the table will continue. We sincerely hope the probing continues and that officials are handed the pink slip. Perhaps a rapid decline in sales and revenue will be their karma.

Auto Industry Recalls

Lately, the auto industry and the word “recall” pair better than hot dogs and mustard. If there’s anything we can learn from Toyota and Chrysler, it’s that we must pay attention to details. It’s more affordable to things right the first time. Too bad these auto industries didn’t get the memo. Earlier this month, GM recalled over 1.3 million Pontiac and Chevrolet compact cars due to a serious issue over a faulty steering issue and alternators creating fires within the vehicles. Simultaneously, CNN reported that Nissan also decided to internationally recall 540,000 trucks and minivans over break issues just to be safe. What a big mess!

The auto industry has got to get it together. Every time you’re forced to do a recall, it just goes to show how profits took precedence over safety, quality assurance, and lives. Toyota and Chrysler rightfully deserve the backlash that they are getting. Either they can honor their promises and assurances, or they can get pushed aside by new competitors entering the market.

US Bonds Indicate Impending Disaster

UStreasuryRecently, the US raised its yields on treasuries three times, causing much speculation over its hidden implications. It’s no secret that the US is still amidst a recession, and the economy doesn’t back up the increase in bond payouts. Globe and Mail reports that the 10-year Treasury yield is at an estimated 4%, a new high since 2008. Various concerns are coming forth over the repercussions of this move.

There are three concerns that this bond raise brings. The first is that the bond yield increase was done out of necessity. It’s losing its appeal as emerging markets promise double-digit returns, leaving investors to decrease or entirely drop their US treasuries in their favor. The second concern is that the US currently has low interest rates, which will eventually have to be increased. When that happens, the economy is likely to experience a double dip and force federal budget cuts. The last issue is that the US must get its spending in order. While we’re focusing our attention on Dubai, Greece, and others, we have budgeting issues to work on ourselves. We can’t promise these attractive returns when we’re close to experiencing financial insolvency of our own. Furthermore, a lipstick on a pig is well…you know. We’re predicting that Karma will show itself over these raised bond rates.

*Images courtesy of CBC and Robert Shafer.
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