Russia: Still Number One
Russia by Vadim Nikitin | on November 3rd, 2011
After a week of Oligarch wars, Medvedev-Luzhkov sniping, spy-plagiarism and a Victor Bout guilty verdict, its good to know we can still lead the world, even if it is in the corruption stakes.
Its unclear how much the Kremlin paid Transparency International to take Chinas crown (or whether it was more or less than the price of hosting the 2024 World Cup), but one thing is certain: Unfortunately there are no islands of integrity in Russian public and business life, according to TIs Russian director Elena Panfilova.
The key message from the study is that bribe-paying was seen as much more common by businessmen from countries whose governments were also considered to have the least integrity. And presumably, the more bribes are offered, the more likely they are to be taken.
If Russia is this corrupt now, imagine what it was like in the mid 90s?
Well, some unflattering details have emerged, including the use of disabled people as economic human shields!
[blockquote]Abramovich used a series of opaque intermediary companies to reduce Sibnefts tax bill by hundreds of millions of dollars. After Sibneft won control of an oil company and refinery he inserted third party legal entities between the two.
These entities bought oil from Sibneft, then sold it back to Sibneft for two or three times the price, siphoning off the difference.
The court heard these intermediary companies qualified for tax exemptions because they employed disabled people a common, and legal, tax avoidance ruse in Russia at the time. I dont recall why it was done, Abramovich admitted. He insisted, however: These were real people. We paid them salaries.
At least Abramovich should get points for being among the only people in Russia paying anyone any salaries during those years. See? Hes not all bad!