Adani Transmission Ltd. Market Watch. Pinterest Reddit. ET Bureau. But none of them envisaged an underland of diamonds. And had anyone but a bunch of Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT researchers averred such a thing, they would have probably been scornfully dismissed.
As annoying as that sounds, it may be just as well that trainloads of diamonds cannot be disgorged from the bowels of the earth anytime soon, not only because of its ecological consequences but also because such a preponderance of the gem would undermine its value.
If diamonds are, indeed, as geologically common as sand or granite and become easily available, they will end up putting a shine on kitchen counters rather than on fingers, wrists, necks, ears and noses. It is better that these diamonds remain tantalisingly unattainable.
Want stories like this in your inbox? Sign up for the daily ET Panache newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn. Read more on Diamond. Jules Verne. Dante Alighieri. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Follow us on. Download et app. Become a member. John Lennon's epic round sunglasses, Ringo Starr's parking ticket to go under the hammer at London auction.
John Caruso says white tee, sneakers are must-haves for men; calls Steven McQueen a fashion icon. Mail This Article. Plural marriage is tolerated in Guinea, a predominantly Muslim country. Most important, she had the ear of the President. Not long afterward, Cilins and several associates from the company obtained an audience with the President. At another meeting, they presented the Minister of Mines with a model of a Formula 1 race car that was similarly encrusted with Steinmetz bling.
Fox shrugged when asked why Cilins had confided in him.
Of believing they did what they did and there was no big deal. To Cilins, giving gifts may have seemed simply like the cost of doing business in places like Guinea. Many countries aggressively prosecute domestic corruption but are much more permissive when it comes to bribes paid abroad. Until fairly recently, French firms that gave bribes in order to secure business in foreign countries could declare them as deductible business expenses.
In recent years, however, international norms have begun changing. Major companies, like Siemens and K. Rio Tinto, too, has contended with corruption; in , four representatives of the company were convicted of accepting bribes in China. Many multinational corporations have responded to the increased vigilance about graft by establishing robust internal-compliance departments that monitor employee behavior.
follow link Fox and his colleagues discovered that she was living in Jacksonville, Florida. The World Bank estimates that forty per cent of the private wealth in Africa is held outside the continent.
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In a recent civil-forfeiture proceeding against the son of the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, the Justice Department documented some of his possessions: a twelve-acre estate in Malibu, a Gulfstream jet, seven Rolls-Royces, eight Ferraris, and a white glove once worn by Michael Jackson. When you disembark from a plane in Conakry, the corruption hits you almost as quickly as the heat.
At the airport, a uniformed officer will stop you, raising no specific objections but making it clear, with his body, that your exit from the situation will be transactional. He had been charged with establishing a new mining code that would create a more equitable balance between the interests of the mining companies and the people of Guinea. In addition, he had been asked to review all existing mining contracts and recommend whether any of them should be renegotiated or rescinded.
But when he turned his focus on Simandou he had no staff of trained inspectors, so he relied on D. Piper, the law firm, and Steven Fox, the investigator. Last October, he sent an incendiary letter to representatives of the joint venture between Vale and B. The letter accused B. Thiam came to the job, in early , with stellar credentials. After obtaining an economics degree from Cornell, he had worked as a banker at Merrill Lynch and U. Thiam was handsome, very polished, and a champion of Beny Steinmetz.
Steven Fox, the American investigator, had discovered that while Thiam was minister he took to driving around Conakry in a Lamborghini. He paid for both properties with cash. Thiam currently lives in the U. This spring, I visited him at his elegant office, on Madison Avenue. He denied any wrongdoing.
The Manhattan apartment, he explained, was paid for with money that he had made in banking. And he had bought the country estate on behalf of a Mozambican friend who was looking to invest in the U. Thiam refused to name the friend. The Lamborghini was not a sports car but a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
He regards the review of the B. He paused. Compared with the lives of the whole country? When B. Oddly, B. But how do you prove corruption? By its nature, corruption is covert; payoffs are designed to be difficult to detect. The international financial system has evolved to accommodate a wide array of illicit activities, and shell companies and banking havens make it easy to camouflage transfers, payment orders, and copies of checks. Paul Collier argues that there are often three parties to a corrupt deal: the briber, the bribed, and the lawyers and financial facilitators who enable the secret transaction.
A recent study found that the easiest country in which to establish an untraceable shell company is not a tropical banking haven but the United States. At the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, he was approached by a Gabonese businessman. The minister was astonished by the documents.
They appeared to be a series of legal contracts, complete with signatures and official seals, between officers of B.
Corporate seals? He was not going to part with such a valuable commodity for free. Now, in return for the documents, the Gabonese man wanted his own stake in Simandou. Palladino acknowledges that the Paris meeting took place, but denies that the Gabonese businessman made any such demands.
If they were genuine, they could be that rare thing: proof of corruption. The contracts—which, if exposed, could potentially imperil his position in Guinea—amounted to a form of insurance policy. In , he had narrowly survived an assassination attempt, in which soldiers bombarded his residence in Conakry with machine-gun fire and rockets.
He pressed on with his efforts to reform Guinea, but his situation grew more precarious.