Biz Watch

Norway's Pride Over a Barrel
As Norway's biggest firm, the oil giant Statoil has always played a vital role in the country's self-image. With revenues of $34 billion a year, the state-owned company is seen as a guarantor of the country's social-welfare system. But when Statoil tried to expand its shrinking domestic business by looking for gas in Iran, it ran into trouble. In mid-September, economic-crime police raided the company's Stavanger headquarters; they believe a $15 million payment to the Swiss bank account of a consulting firm may have been a bribe destined for Iranian officials. Three...

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