Edited by Rafael Leal-Arcas and Jan Wouters
Chapter 13: The dark side of power: corruption and bribery within the energy industry
As has been recently demonstrated by the ‘Panama Papers’ and ‘Bahamas Leaks’ scandals, corruption is rife in our societies. Quoting Kofi Annan’s opening statement to the United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2004: ‘It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish’. The origins of this social plague may be traced back to the outset of human civilization. However, it appears that this kind of unethical behavior is particularly rampant in the energy sector. This chapter will introduce the topic of corruption and analyze the reasons behind the fact that, almost unexpectedly, over the course of the last two decades corruption has gradually moved from the margins to the center of the international political stage. Then, the chapter will try to explain why, in the energy sector, such a criminal phenomenon has traditionally been wildly rampant, with extremely dramatic effects. Finally, the chapter will offer a vivid depiction of a recent tale of dishonesty, which is emblematic of the way in which corrupt practices are commonly perpetrated within the energy industry.
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