Friday News: HP’s bribery and money laundering, Amazon’s acquisition of ComiXology, the Dublin Literary Award’s shortlist, and Ireland’s singing priest
Hewlett-Packard Admits to International Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes – Okay, let’s start with the bad news. If this were April Fools’ Day, I’d say this has got to be a joke. Sadly (or for those reading The Will, alas), HP “has admitted to creating and using slush funds for bribes, money laundering, and clandestine “bag of cash” handoffs in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico.” Apparently they have already pled guilty, which will result in a $108 million penalty (probably petty change when compared to the contracts), criminal fines, and DOJ forfeitures. American HP executives have, thus far, escapes prosecution, but considering that the SEC, FBI, and IRS all collaborated in the investigation, I wouldn’t be surprised if individuals are soon charged. If you want a sense of how this works, check out some of the details of their Russian operation:
Beginning in the late 1990s, HP’s Russian conspirators concocted a sophisticated scheme to bypass internal controls and falsify records in order to siphon cash into a secret slush fund — eventually totaling about $10 million. Partly used for bribes and kickbacks to Russian officials, the money was aimed principally to grease the wheels for an approximately $48 million technology contract that HP ultimately won. The vast majority of that cash was laundered through off-shore bank accounts and ultimately deposited into shell accounts, some directly held by Russian officials. –VICE News
AMAZON.COM TO ACQUIRE COMIXOLOGY – I’m not sure whether this is good news or bad news. Amazon and ComiXology honchos seem to be pretty happy about the deal, the terms of which have not yet been made public. There are references to “reinventing reading in a digital world” and growing the market for comics and graphic novels. ComiXology’s Guided View technology creates what the company describes as an “immersive experience” for readers, and it’s obvious that Amazon is interested in capturing a wide swath of readers, especially in the context of their recent introduction of Kindle Worlds.
Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology’s headquarters will remain in New York. –ComiXology Unbound
Ten books shortlisted for the 2014 Award – In what is apparently the most valuable annual literary prize in the world for a work of fiction published in English, the shortlist for the€100,000 Dublin Literary Award has been announced. Featuring titles like A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, and Traveler of the Century by Andrés Neuman, books were nominated by 110 library systems in 39 countries. Despite the language requirement, half of the books were originally published in languages other than English, and they represent an international literary perspective.
The titles on this year’s shortlist were nominated by public libraries in Australia, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, South Africa and The Netherlands.
The five member international judging panel, chaired by Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, will select one winner which will be announced by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Patron of the Award, Oisín Quinn on Thursday 12th June in a morning announcement. –IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Is this the best singing priest ever? – You may be one of the 7 million or so people who have seen this video, but check out the story of this singing Irish priest, who surprised a couple who were not from his parish with an amazing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (slightly customized to fit the couple he just married). The sound wasn’t great on my computer, but I can’t tell how much of that is my speakers and how much is the recording. Hopefully you can hear it clearly, because Father Ray Kelly has quite the pipes. –The Guardian