Shocking, we know

WHAT?!? Companies Pay BRIBES To Do Business In Russia And Angola?

Be prepared to lose all faith in -- well, if not humanity, per se, at least capitalism and government officials in Nigeria.

It appears -- are you sitting down? -- that bribery is sometimes used when American companies try to do business in Russia, Nigeria, Angola and Kazakhstan. Yes, a country that ends in "stan" has people who take bribes.

The U.S. Attorney's Office here in Houston announced today that a bunch of companies will be paying more than $156 million in fines because of all the bribes they paid to "git r done" in various locales around the world.

The court documents are here, but the bare, shocking truth is that many bureaucrats' families in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan will be going hungry, or at the very least slumming down to store brands instead of imports.

The Swiss company Panalpina World Transport got the biggest hit in terms of fines, but others include Royal Dutch Shell, Transocean, Tidewater Marine, Noble Corporation and Pride International.

The full line-up of bribe-taking countries: Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.

We are glad to report that the bribery problem is now apparently solved in all these places.

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