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Bribery and Corruption Casebook: The View from Under the Table by Laura Hymes, Joseph T. Wells

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CHAPTER 23

A Drop in the Ocean

LUDMILA GRECHANIK

It can be difficult to pinpoint one primary culprit when a fraud occurs in a culture of corruption. That is the case with this story. Blue Ocean was a gigantic, international manufacturing firm that produced diverse equipment for other businesses. It had branches in Europe, the United States and Asia-Pacific. In Eastern Europe, the company had subsidiaries in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kiev, all of which were subordinated to the head office in England. Managers at the Blue Ocean branch in Moscow had established a system of fraud a decade ago and developed it over time. Despite having different leaders throughout the years, the framework remained in place and active, and new managers were encouraged to continue the tradition.

I was employed as an external investigator at Blue Ocean in the corporate headquarters when I first heard of Marina Karpova, the CEO at Blue Ocean Moscow. Karpova was in her mid-30s, married and had two children. She began working in the finance department of Blue Ocean Moscow when she graduated from college and had worked her way up the ranks to become CEO. She was smart, well respected and lively. She was a nice person and well educated, and she gave me the impression that she understood my questions before I even finished asking them. However, she also appeared to have gotten herself and the company in quite a bit of trouble.

Puzzling Payments

The first time I met Karpova she was at a coffee shop in Moscow, ...

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