How GE changed tack on Russia

By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - About five years ago, General Electric Co, the largest Western player in Russia's market for medical equipment, uncovered pervasive corruption in its Russian business. Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, then chief executive of GE Germany and Developed Markets, told an investor conference in 2012 that senior management became aware of the problems around 2009. "We had to eliminate more than half of our healthcare organization because we discovered that they were happily scamming our customers, scamming against us and scamming against the government," Beccalli-Falco told the conference. A GE spokesman said Beccalli-Falco did not wish to comment, and the company declined to comment on its Russian business.
Special Report: Opaque middlemen exact high price in Russia's deals with the West

Exterior view of the Endocrinology Research Centre in MoscowBy Tom Bergin and Stephen Grey MOSCOW/LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Russia pays hugely inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination has found. These middlemen firms, which have no easily traceable owners or offices, add mark-ups that mean Russian state hospitals frequently pay two or three times more than hospitals in the West for the same equipment. A Reuters examination of Russian customs data and state procurement records shows the price differences can be hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single item. An analysis of 20,000 transactions dated between January 2006 and July 2013 found that international companies sold Russia medical devices worth more than $2.8 billion through more than 150 obscure companies and partnerships.



Trade between China and Mozambique nears $3 billion

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — China's ambassador to Mozambique says trade between the two countries increased to nearly $3 billion this year.
Sony hack adds to security pressure on companies

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, people walk out from the headquarters of Sony Corp. in Tokyo. Faced with rising cybercrime like the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, companies worldwide are under pressure to tighten security but are hampered by cost and, for some, reluctance to believe they are in danger. The studio's parent, Sony Corp., launched an overhaul of its own security in 2011 after hackers broke into its PlayStation Network gaming system and stole data of 77 million users. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)BEIJING (AP) — Faced with rising cybercrime like the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, companies worldwide are under pressure to tighten security but are hampered by cost and, for some, reluctance to believe they are in danger.



U.N. chief, visiting Ebola countries, urges respect for health rules

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to the media in San JoseBy Matthew Mpoke Bigg MONROVIA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, starting a visit to Ebola-hit countries in West Africa, urged local communities to strictly follow health regulations in the face of signs that traditional funerals are still spreading the disease. Ban arrived in Liberia on Friday at the start of a two-day tour of four nations struck by the worst ever outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever, including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Mali. ...





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