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Finns Advised on Bribery in Russia

Published: January 25, 2005 (Issue # 1038)


HELSINKI - Finnish authorities criticized a leading trade body on Friday for publishing a book giving advice on bribery for Finns doing business in Russia.

The book, titled "Russian Customs for Finns," gives examples of what kind of bribes can be given and how, seeking to aid businesses from a country known for its transparency. "If you have to give a bribe, it has to be done discreetly, definitely without external witnesses, or rather by using a Russian frontman," the book, published by the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce, quoted a Finnish businessman as saying.

The Chamber used a Finnish government grant to finance the publication the instruction book deeming it a necessary tabletop accessory for Finnish businessmen. Finland has been acknowledged as the world's least corrupt country in terms of business transactions by the Transparency Internatioanl organization.

Although the book was actually published two years ago, it provoked a scandal last Friday, when the authoritative Finnish daily Helsingin Sanoman cited a chapter from a book, in which Finnish businessmen discussed their experiences in bribing Russian officials.

"Of course you have to talk about the operating environment, but not like that," said Henrik Raiha, a senior official at the Trade and Industry Ministry, which provides some 20 percent of the organization's annual financing. "Now the reader gets the picture that you can't cope in Russia without bribing," he said.

A Chamber of Commerce spokesman defended the book, saying it "is a description about how real life is in Russia."

(Reuters, Mosnews, SPT)





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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