Round Hill’s own Ric Bourke begins day two of his trial for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act but so far, not much news. Maybe later. Readers have expressed various opinions of Mr. Bourke, depending, it seems, on how they feel about running down bicyclists with an SUV, but I’ll confess to some sympathy for the man, regardless of his driving habits. Only in the good old USA is bribing corrupt foreign officials a crime. The rest of the world takes a realistic view of the world, acknowledges that not everyone can be as pure as a United States Congressman, and basically says, “if you gotta bribe to get the business, get the business.”
For instance, Bourke’s partner, Viktor Kozeny, has confessed to bribing the oil ministers of Azerbaijan (considered by connoisseurs to be the most corrupt nation in the world, if one can imagine such a thing) yet he’s sitting this trial out in the comfort of his $29 million villa in the Bahamas. The U.S. tried to extradite him but the Bahama courts ruled that Vik had done nothing illegal by their laws and in fact, ordered the U.S. (that would be us taxpayers) to reimburse his legal defense fees.
Kozeny, by the way, not only cheerfully admits to the bribery, he says that everyone in on this deal knew exactly what he was doing. By “everyone”, he not only means poor Frederic Bourke, he means another investor, former Senator Edmund Muskie. George Mitchell. Guess who is not on trial alongside Bourke? Guess who seems never have even been questioned by federal prosecutors? It was a Republican Justice Department that brought this case, so I think this suggests that political power trumps mere wealth, every time.