If there was a Mount Rushmore of the most corrupt companies, who would you put on it?


My votes would be:

  • Facebook
  • Enron (This site is a huge fan of their former CEO)
  • Scientology (Self explanatory)
  • Bayer (Recently acquired Monsanto)

Comments (50)

Mar 25, 2019 - 7:13pm

The most corruption will be seen in any industry that hinges mostly on government making a decision (permits, patents, permission, or direct subsidy) rather than the broad population. Real estate, infrastructure, chemicals, power, natural resources extraction, healthcare, financial services would be good places for starters.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Mar 27, 2019 - 5:17pm

Actually it was Union Carbide, not Dow. Dow acquired UC about 20 years later.

But I still remember images from this. I was in high school and one really tragic image was of a young child's face, dead, with their eyes still open, surrounded by rubble. Haunting, to say the least, to think of the thousands that died and the 10's of thousands that were impacted over the years.

Mar 26, 2019 - 1:13am

This is more like "best of the worst." In reality the world's most corrupt companies will be ones that haven't been caught, or have been caught but there are no consequences. Gazprom, Sinopec, East India Company, etc.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Mar 28, 2019 - 11:17am

Agree with you. Read an article on Equifax regarding its corporate governance issues during/after the breach. Apparently they tried to fix it and did not disclose for a long time. Also their tech committee on the board is basically a place for new directors (no tech background required) to learn and get up to speed. On top of those, there were also allegations of insider trading where some directors sold their EFX share after the breach and before the announcement.

Mar 26, 2019 - 8:53pm

Milken was not corrupt. Look at him in the context of what was going on back then and it's easy to see the SEC wanted a scapegoat. Milken funded American companies like CNN, and has since done amazing things for cancer research. The guy pretty much single handedly funded huge deals. When you build a firm that quickly shit happens and unfortunately the SEC (AKA lawyers too dumb to work anywhere real) had a hard on for him.

Mar 27, 2019 - 9:47pm

No he was definitely corrupt. He essentially stole millions and millions of dollars from his employer through giving himself warrants and other trading abuses. In addition he convinced a few savings and loans and insurance companies to make extremely reckless gigantic investments in his bonds, bankrupting them, and bribed other fiduciaries to invest in his bonds. There is nothing wrong with high-yield bonds or his creation of them per se, his corruption is all about all of his other abuses. In addition, he was more prosecuted on relative technicalities that his actual main crimes simply because it was easier to do so.

Mar 28, 2019 - 12:37am

I'd argue that money laundering can be separate but still just as bad as corruption. As a financial institution you're basically looking at someone else's crime or corruption and saying, "Let's facilitate this and make money off it ourselves."

Mar 27, 2019 - 3:23pm

Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction and oil company, would be a serious contender. They admitted to having paid bribes to politicians in 12 countries and more cases are under investigation.

The FIFA organisation was/is involved in multiple corruption cases too. But we don't have to worry. They removed corruption as an official misdemeanour from their latest code of ethics. And clearly something that doesn't exist can't happen.

Mar 27, 2019 - 5:00pm
  • Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities – ‘nuf said
  • Barclays – for the LIBOR manipulation
  • Halliburton/KBR, for wide ranging items from massive bribery in Nigeria, to destroying evidence relating to their guilt in Deepwater Horizon, and over-charging/double-charging on its government contracts
  • Adelphia Communications and Tyco – although one might argue that it was Adelphia’s father & son, the Rigas’ and Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski and his CFO, who were corrupt – treating their companies like their personal piggy banks, giving themselves loans out of their company coffers and then forgiving said loans [or actually trying to claim it was compensation that their boards approved!?] along with Kozlowski’s famous [or is that infamous] $2M birthday party in Sardinia for his wife.
Mar 27, 2019 - 7:03pm

HSBC: Terrorist and cartel financing/money laundering. Pretty ridiculous that they got off for this with a $1.9B fine even when there was evidence that executives may facilitated enablement of illicit activity. It speaks volumes to how the banking system allows all sorts of BS.

Mar 28, 2019 - 12:40am

In my line of work we keep up on the bad news that comes out about other FIs. I feel like at this stage it's really unusual to find a national or multinational bank that isn't getting caught doing sleazy shit.

Nevertheless, fuck HSBC in particular.

Mar 28, 2019 - 9:24am

Check out American Greed. I know I can’t be the only one on this site that watches the show.

There are plenty of smaller firms and people that have caused immense pain to Mom and Pop investors (the type of people who are in their sixties who will never recover from a loss of a million dollars), cheated the government, and abused the poor. I have an unhealthy obsession with that show.

Oh, and a side note, the people who invested with the optionsellers.com guy are technically worse off than those that invested with Maddoff. The madoff investors actually recovered SOME money while I believe the investors from optionsellers actually lost everything and owed money.

Mar 31, 2019 - 5:51pm

1- Big Pharma companies (thousand of reasons...high drug prices meanwhile the ceo's compensation is 100+ millions ) oh and did you know the inventor of insuline did not patented it to make it accessible and saves lives but big pharma is making a killing out of it?

2- BB that operates in financial havens : during the credit crunch it was stated that those banks stayed in the game because they had liquidity from crime money (drugs, laundering, stolen...)

3- Defense companies ; they give you the illusion that they protect your country but in fact they sell weapons to everyone including your ennemies and they overcharge you both

4-Elite universities : recent bribe admissions scandal....

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