No-one wants the money?
I'll have it! I can think of loads of things to spend £147k on that could be telecoms related...
An investigation into payments made to two Irish politicians has, for the last four years, focused on the GSM licence awarded in 1996, resulting in a decision that improper payments were made. The Moriarty Tribunal, part II (volumes 1 and 2 available now), explicitly states that Denis O'Brien's Esat Digifone made payments to …
Public Enquiry has it about right, we had a tribunal to investigate the dodgy meat for Iraq, the journalist who revealed the export credit insurance fraud was the only one prosecuted, then we have the tribunal investigating payments to politicians during the course of which a serving PM claims not to have had a bank account during his time as minister for finance and to be unable to remember the name of the horse he claims to have won the price of a house on. The adversarial system is a crock and has been responsible for mass evasion of justice here by the well connected.
(How El Reg missed the fact that this all came to public attention following the arrest of an Irish business man with a quarter pound of Bolivias finest in the company of a lady who received payment for her companionship I'll never know)
The point of all the Irish Tribunals is to make sure no-one gets prosecuted and that by the time it's finished as many people as possible have died/retired/left the country/changed party
Otherwise it would have gone to normal legal process in the first place.
Mine's the one with plane tickets in the pocket
... six months, badabing, people getting led out of buildings in cuffs by bulls from the local precinct.
Here in Ireland? As Mage says we'd rather line the pockets of the legal profession at the taxpayer's expense for 15 years to produce an outcome that sees nobody punished.
All OECD countries have laws prohibiting the bribery of foreign officials. Bribery in country A by company B can sustain a prosecution in country C if the company has a sufficient presence to trigger C's jurisdiction. The US FCPA in particular draws the line very wide indeed. I don't know off the bat where Telenor's operations were in 1998 but e.g. if they were quoted in the US or issued securities there, the DoJ would have jurisdiction to investigate. The same might apply to a number of other OECD countries with jurisdiction over Digicel/O'Brien/Telenor and other interested people, even if the Irish authorities cbf'd doing anything about it...
"working out what happened often comes down to remembrances of conversations, some of them having taken place after a drink or two"
Does nobody write anything down?
If there's no paper record of the rationale behind a decision made by sober government officials, then I think the taxpayers are entitled to say that none of their money should have changed hands, and if it did then whoever was responsible should pay it back or go to jail for embezzlement.
No? Well howzabout I tell the taxman that I've paid next year's taxes and if he can't find the piece of paper then it's probably because he's lost it?
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