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Frontlines Black Money - Essay Example

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Frontline’s Black Money discusses the illicit use of money in bribes among multi-national corporations and the steps international regulatory organizations have taken to stop it. The film begins by discussing the close-ties Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia shares with the United…
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Frontline’s Black Money discusses the illicit use of money in bribes among multi-national corporations and the steps international regulatory organizations have taken to stop it. The film begins by discussing the close-ties Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia shares with the United States – interviews where he is referenced by Jimmy Carter, and a section that says he affectionately goes by Bandar Bush because of his close relationship with the Bush family are shown. It then details a military arms deal brokered between the Saudi government and the British defense contractor BAE. From the perspective of a high-end chauffeur, it then details the lavish expenditures that accompanied the lifestyles of the Saudi princes immediately after the arms deal was completed and how he was instructed to refer all expenses to BAE. It then discusses how the Foreign Corruption Practices (FCPA) was formed in the United States during the Carter administration and how it makes United States laws against bribery the most strict in the world. Later, because of competitive disadvantages American companies were experiencing, the international community created the OECD to make it a world-wide offense. Even with these policies intact, large companies, such as BAE and the German company Siemens still found ways to work around the system. It discusses the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 500 million dollar fine of KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, for breaking United States anti-bribery laws. Eventually, a full scale investigation is launched by British investigators into the BAE scandal and unearths a world-wide multi-billion dollar series of slush funds. An investigation is launched into BAE practices in Switzerland. Just as the investigation is supposed to unearth potent information, Prince Bandar visits with Tony Blair and informs him that if the investigation continues then the Saudis will stop cooperating with the British on anti-terrorism laws. This information, coupled with an apparent blackmail plot against the investigator, results in the investigation being dropped, with the Saudi connections to the United States being investigated further by the DOJ. The film ends on a somber note, concluding that the rules for the use of this ‘black money’ are different for the large corporations -- who can get away with it -- and the small businesses that face OECD regulations. Read More
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