Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's time SIEMENS relocate to India

Poor SIEMENS. It just got unlucky.

Too much is made out of a bribery scandal. What did it do after all? It ran a cash desk for its managers to draw money at will and offer kickbacks to get deals. Over time, they say it added up to $800 million or so. So what? Didn’t late Dhirubhai Ambani (and now his sons) build the Reliance empire by bribes? The Ministers do its bidding in the Parliament. They fight its war. Even as RIL (led by Mukesh Ambani) backtracks on its earlier agreement to sell gas to RNRL (led by feuding brother Anil Ambani) at concessional rates, Murli Deora, the Minister for Petroleum and Natural gas will force his bureaucrats to file an affidavit to help beef up the RIL case. The bureaucrats in the government where Reliance had something to do get two pay checks every month. A smaller one from the government and another one much larger from Ambani’s cronies. In return, they let Reliance import capital equipments at `NIL’ rate of duty by accepting its classification as `gift’ – yes, gift of an entire plant by an overseas supplier and more.

But that’s in India. In Europe and America they look down upon corruption. They won’t let companies get away with bribed deals. They are grilling SIEMENS and imposing massive penalties. But a Bernard Madoff type $50 billion ponzi schemes are allowed. Their investment banks are allowed to issue junk bonds that have little or no underlying asset that have the power to bring down their economies. [Hell the serial collapse of Wall Street banks looked like some Communist government issuing a “shutdown-or-else” diktat to free up pricey real estate – like they do in China pushing the poor people into hinterlands to make room for Olymipic stadium and other urban infrastructure. They let their auditors, credit rating agencies and regulators get away scot-free. Even Governors can sell senate seats and the courts don’t allow their removal.
Hypocrisy? Well, ok for lack of a better word.
I have some advice for beleaguered SIEMENS management – Relocate to India. You have all the right qualifications :-)

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