Corruption – The Puppet Masters

October 27, 2011

Anybody who has put deals together in Ukraine involving commodities either domestically or for import/export will have come across smoke and mirrors, shell companies, umbrella companies, kick-backs, rebates to seemingly uninvolved foreign registered companies, intermediaries and business associates closely connected to decision makers etc.

The bigger the numbers involved, the further up the slippery pole the puppet masters sit.

Only this morning I had an inquiry from a corporation external to Ukraine seeking a rolling commodity contract and requesting introduction to a person of influence.  Introduction duly made of course.  Does that make me an intermediary or an advocate for their cause?  One man’s lobbying is another man’s advocacy after all.  The difference is transparency.

That is not to single Ukraine out from the rest of the international community of course.  Personal relationships count for a great deal, particularly the higher up the greasy pole you climb.  Whilst I no longer climb any poles or even hang from them, just like any alumni system, getting access or being accessed yourself never completely disappears.  Such is the web of patronage or loyalty within certain  movements in any society, Ukrainian or otherwise.

Anyway, for those of you who really want an insight into the shenanigans of legal manipulation, corruption and smoke and mirrors at the highest levels, this report from the World Bank called Puppet Masters is extremely accurate and terribly interesting, albeit giving the clueless a clue regarding how to go about it.

A long and somewhat technical read in places, it certainly does not miss the mark.

In most cases around the globe, it can be metaphorically stated that the fish rots from the head down, although that is not necessarily always the case.  Occasionally the fish maybe rotting unbeknown to the head of the fish.

The question therefore arises, if the police who police the police are corrupt, who polices the police police?

One comment

  1. I think the World Bank’s report is fantastic, but it inherently covers so many jurisdictions that it has to be general. It’s interesting to see the view from Ukraine.
    I’ve written an article on it from the perspective of the UK company secretarial service providers and I’d be interested in your thoughts.

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