OPINION

Enron and Intracom

…A careful businessman makes sure that he keeps his enterprise away from political intrigues. If he provides financial support for a government, he does so in moderation and is prepared to account for it without fearing any association with the projects his firm has undertaken. He avoids inflating and perpetuating corruption in the state mechanism. He does not hide himself behind blackmail schemes. The charges leveled against the main shareholder of one of Greece’s largest enterprises, in combination with what is being heard in the market, shows that all the above principles were violated. Many would argue in return that in many cases, particularly in the former communist states and in our own country, a firm can’t possibly strike a deal without resorting to obscure methods. This obvious conclusion is accompanied with the equally obvious obligation to preserve the corporate image… We are now faced with an opportunity to examine and, potentially, to reveal machinations that harm the public sphere and small shareholders. It’s no surprise that every time a firm is found to have bribed dozens of politicians, as shown by the Enron case, the market comes under heavy pressure. This crisis will help purge the system of corruption and will prompt a re-examination and, ultimately, a correction of flawed provisions and rules. This is also demonstrated by the American experience, where the authorities rushed to reform the system for financing party spending…