Koch Brothers Skirted Iran Ban, Made Millions: Report

Bloomberg profiles violations by Koch Industries over years
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2011 3:04 AM CDT
Updated Oct 3, 2011 6:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Despite former President George W. Bush calling Iran part of the "axis of evil" and a 1995 ban on doing business there, hard-right supporters the Koch brothers kept selling millions of dollars of petrochemicals to the nation until at least 2007, using complex legal maneuvers and plenty of subsidiaries to hide the deals, reports Bloomberg in a long takedown of Koch Industries. “How much lawless behavior are we going to tolerate from any one company?” asks one prosecutor in the piece. “Corporate cultures reflect the priorities of the corporation and its senior officials.”

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Koch Industries has also fixed prices, lied to regulators, and violated environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions in the US and Canada since 1999, along with $400 million in fines in 1999 to 2003, notes Bloomberg. One former employee said "the Koch method" referred to lessons in cheating he received when he worked for the company. Another former employee said she was told to lie on a report about cancerous benzene emissions. “The refinery was just hemorrhaging benzene into the atmosphere,” she said, noting she refused to alter the data. “They were really kind of baffled that I had ethics.” Since then, Koch Industries says it has made a big push to emphasize corporate ethics, pushing "integrity and compliance," while blaming increasing regulation for many of its previous problems. We were caught unprepared by the rapid increase in regulation,” wrote Charles Koch in his 2007 book. “While business was becoming increasingly regulated, we kept thinking and acting as if we lived in a pure market economy.” (Read more Koch Industries stories.)

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