Taking Corporate Crime To A New Level

by Robert Driscoll on October 22, 2009

imagesSeveral of my past posts have been about cybercrime and protecting your data and I figured I might give it a break for a little while, but I couldn’t ignore some recent articles that I read about organized criminal events that targeted very successful companies, Hermitage Capital Management in particular, who was bilked of nearly $230 million in Russia.  While the parties involved used computers and the internet to enact part of their crime, they primarily used brute force.  What makes this story of interest are those who were involved: the Russian police, high-level government officials and judges just to name a few.  To make this event even more interesting, according to Russian officials, Hermitage and its CEO and founder, William Browder, may be guilty of a $16.9 million tax evasion as well.  Sounds like the making of a John Grisham novel, but unfortunately, it’s real.

While this event occurred over four years ago, this story of corporate fraud is so surreal that Browder issued a message of warning via a Youtube video recently to investors, companies who are currently doing business in Russia or entertaining it, to be careful.  You can watch the full footage at:

It’s obvious that money can and will change people or make them do things that they normally wouldn’t do, but in places like Russia, they’ve managed to take it to a new level.  Dmitri Alperovitch, a McAfee Internet threat researcher, stated that while Russia’s long history with organized crime has paved the way for highly organized criminal groups that have exploited the use of botnets, spamming and phishing (to name a few), he said it perfectly about organized crime in Russia, “At the end of the day, it’s about the money.”  While I’m sure the truth in this story lies somewhere in the middle, either way, this event has managed to take corporate crime to a new level.

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