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经济学人双语版:贿赂 移花接木无处遁形

2016-03-04    来源:经济学人    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

经济学人双语版:贿赂 移花接木无处遁形

Bribery
贿赂

Graft work
移花接木

A new study lights up the shadows
无处遁形

GONE are the days when multinationals could book bribes paid in far-flung countries as a tax-deductible expense. These days would-be palm-greasers have to contend with ever-tougher enforcement of old laws, such as America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, and a raft of new ones in countries from Britain to Brazil.
有种日子一去不复返了,想当年,跨国公司可以先行贿,然后在远远找个国家支付以抵扣公司税。 如今,想要伸手的人必须面对依然严峻的原有法令,例如1977年的美国反海外贿赂法,以及从英国到巴西等国家的一大堆新颁法令。

As policing is stepped up, however, much about the practice of bribery remains murky. The OECD's first report on the subject, published on December 2nd, sheds some light by analysing more than 400 international bribery cases that have been brought since the anti-bribery convention of this group of mostly rich countries came into force in 1999.
虽然加强了监管,但是,许多贿赂行为仍然在暗处作祟。国际经合组织首次就此问题撰写的首次报告在12月2日发表,通过分析从1999年主要是由发达国家组成的该组织颁布的反贿赂公约生效以来的超过400起跨国贿赂案例,而发人深省。

Some findings confirm what was known or suspected. The most bribe riddled sectors are oil, gas, mining, construction and transport. At the other end of the spectrum, financial services and retailing are fairly clean. Most bribes go to managers of state-owned companies, followed by customs officials. And America leads the enforcement pack, with 128 cases that resulted in sanctions (see chart).
一些调查结果证实了那些所知到的和所怀疑的东西。贿赂最泛滥的领域是石油、天然气、采矿、建筑和运输业。而在该序列的另一端,金融服务和零售业则相当清白。大多数贿赂聚焦在国有企业的管理人员,其次是海关官员。美国查处力度最大,处置了128起案件。

But the report also undermines some common beliefs. Bribery is not a sin of rogue employees or poor countries. In 53% of cases payments were made or authorised by corporate managers (and in 12% of them by the chief executive). More than 40% of the time, the bribe-taking official was in a developed country (though this figure is probably inflated by rich countries' greater willingness to criminalise bribery and co-operate with cross-border investigations). Authorities are often alerted by firms themselves: those that co-operate quickly are often treated leniently.
但报告也对一些常识造成了冲击。贿赂不是居心不良的员工和贫穷国家才有的罪恶。在53%的案件中由公司管理者亲自或授权支付贿款,其中12%由总裁进行。超过40%的案件中,受贿的公务人员来自发达国家(虽然这个数据可能被发达国家的惩治贿赂以及进行跨国协作调查的强烈意愿夸大了)。当局常常收到公司自己的报案:毕竟坦白从宽嘛。

Nevertheless, the cleanest countries tend to be rich, and the dirtiest poor. Four of the five best-performing countries in Transparency International's latest corruption-perceptions index, also published this week, were Nordic. The worst were North Korea and Somalia. (Interestingly, China's score slipped despite a recent high-profile campaign against corrupt officials.)
尽管如此,最清廉的国家仍然是那些富国,而最糟糕的还是穷国。五个在“透明国际”组织最新的清廉指数中(也是本周刚刚发布)表现得最好的国家是北欧。最差的是朝鲜和索马里。(有意思的是,尽管近期有高调的反腐运动,中国的评分仍然下降了)

The cost of bribery varies by industry. Builders pay a modest average of 4% of a transaction's value; extractive companies a hefty 21%. Add to that the rising costs of paying penalties and conducting internal probes—these cost Siemens, for example, $2.4 billion when it was mired in a graft scandal a few years ago—and bribery starts to look bad not just for reputations, but also for bottom lines.
行贿的成本因行业而异。建筑商平均支付成交价的4%,较为适中;而采掘业企业则高达21%。加上那些日益上升的罚款和进行内部调查的支出(以西门子为例,当数年前深陷贪污门之时,这些费用高达24亿美元),于是,如今行贿可不仅仅是名誉上看起来不妙,更关乎盈亏生死。

Even for firms that are not caught, the business case for bribery is far from clear. A 2013 study by Harvard Business School and America's National Bureau of Economic Research found that what bribe-paying companies gain in higher sales in corrupt countries, they lose in lower profit margins. According to the OECD, the average bribe costs 11% of the transaction's value and 35% of associated profits.
即使是对那些还没有东窗事发的公司,搞贿赂的生意也是一摊烂账。2013年由哈佛商学院和美国全国经济研究局的研究表明,行贿公司虽然在一些腐败国家的赢得了更高的销售额,但实际上由于降低了利润率而蒙受损失。根据经合组织的调查,平均的行贿支出占到交易额的11%和相关利润的35%。

Nevertheless, graft remains alive and well. One of the OECD report's authors told a conference this week that 390 cases are under investigation—not far short of the total number resolved since the OECD convention took effect 15 years ago. The number of cases concluded each year has dipped since a peak in 2011 as the time taken to complete investigations and prosecutions has climbed to more than seven years, from under four in 2008.
即使这样,贪腐仍然搞得有声有色。经合组织报告的一位作者在本周的一次会议上谈到目前正在调查390起案件,与自从经合组织公约15年前生效以来已了结总案件数差的不远了。每年结案的数量自从2011年达到峰值以来逐年下降,因为那正开展全面调查和起诉,从2008年不到4起攀升到七年来的最高峰的时候。

One possible reason for the slowdown is that bribery techniques are growing more sophisticated and thus harder to detect. Another could be the widespread use of opaque corporate structures to conceal wrongdoing. These can be devilishly difficult to unpick, especially when they are stacked in several layers and fronted by nominee directors. Anonymous shell companies and other intermediaries—sometimes dressed up as “consultants”—were used to move or to house payments in more than 70% of cases. The OECD report underlines the importance of cracking down on the misuse of shell companies and enforcing more clarity over ownership of companies and trusts, whether through accessible corporate registers—a move being pushed by some G20 countries, led by Britain—or by tougher regulation of service providers that do the paperwork for new firms.
放缓的原因之一是收受贿赂的手段越来越玄妙,从而更难于察觉。另一个原因可能是普遍使用的不透明公司结构隐匿了丑行。剥离这些结构异常艰难,特别当是这种组织层层堆叠,由提名董事来在前面顶缸的时候。在70%的案例中,匿名的皮包公司和其他中间人(通常扮演“顾问公司”角色)用来转移或隐匿所支付款项。经合组织的报告凸显了打击滥用空壳公司和明晰公司及信托公司权属的重要性,要么是通过方便的公司注册检索(一些G20国家推动了该项运动,由英国牵头),要么对负责经办新公司事宜的服务商的严格监管。 翻译:沈竹 校对:刘苗苗 (译文属译生译世)

词汇解析:

1. deductible

1).ADJ If a payment or expense is deductible, it can be deducted from another sum such as your income, for example, when calculating how much income tax you have to pay. 可扣除的

Part of the auto-loan interest is deductible as a business expense.
作为一项业务支出,汽车消费的部分贷款利息是可以扣除的。

...deductible expenses.
... 可扣除费用。

2). N-COUNT A deductible is a sum of money which an insured person has to pay toward the cost of an insurance claim. The insurance company pays the rest. 免赔额

Each time they go to a hospital, they have to pay a deductible of $628.
每次他们去医院,他们必须缴纳免赔费用628美元。

2. murky

1). ADJ A murky place or time of day is dark and rather unpleasant because there is not enough light. 阴暗的

The large lamplit room was murky with wood smoke.
那亮灯的大房间因木柴烟而昏暗不明。

2). ADJ Murky water or fog is so dark and dirty that you cannot see through it. 混浊的

...the deep, murky waters of Loch Ness.
…尼斯湖混浊的深水。

3). ADJ If you describe something as murky, you mean that the details of it are not clear or that it is difficult to understand. 含糊不清的; 晦涩难懂的

The law here is a little bit murky.
该法律此处有点含糊不清。

3. hefty

1). ADJ Hefty means large in size, weight, or amount. 庞大的; 沉重的

She was quite a hefty woman.
她是个相当高大的女人。

2). ADJ A hefty movement is done with a lot of force. 有力的

Max grabbed Sascha's hair and she retaliated by giving him a hefty push.
马克斯抓住萨夏的头发,她回敬他猛的一推。



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