SCANDALS: Lifting the Lid on Some Mysterious Money

In West Africa it is known as dash, in Latin America as la mordida (the bite), in Italy la bustarella (the little envelope). By whatever name, bribery and associated tactics—outright payoffs to clerks and customs inspectors, "contributions" to political parties, the hiring of government officials as "consultants" —have long been accepted in many countries as the normal, natural way to get any business done. U.S. companies operating overseas must somehow adjust to that atmosphere. But the biggest scandal in American business right now is that too many seem to have become...

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