Bit surprising

German prosecutors, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal in April, are looking into the possibility that H-P executives paid about €8 million ($10.9 million) in bribes to win a €35 million contract under which the U.S. company sold computer gear, through a German subsidiary, to the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation. The German probe has been joined by U.S. and Russian authorities, according to people familiar with the matter.

No, not that a bribe was paid: it would be surprising if no bribe had been paid.

Over 20% looks a bit steep though. Anywhere from 3-10% is more what I would have expected.

A German prosecution spokesman says his office is investigating the flow of about €8 million transferred by three H-P dealers in Germany to accounts outside of Germany. The three German dealers declined to comment.

Court records show the funds were paid according to invoices flown to Germany between 2004 and 2006 in the luggage of a person who worked for an H-P dealer in Moscow.

Ah, OK. So, since there was some bribery going on various other people will have jumped on board to get a cut of the action, move some money around out of tax nets and so on. Umm, purely in my opinion, of course.

But I can actually help here:

Without assistance from the U.S. or from Russia, German investigators say they may never be able to identify the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds.

Have a look at the contract itself. Read the names of the people who signed it. They will be a least some of the recipients.

For of course the point of the bribe is to make sure that these certain people who have the power to sign such a contract do in fact sign this contract.

Seems sensible

A system of first and second degree murder could be introduced after it was revealed Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, is “sympathetic” to proposals first raised four years ago.

Just as we distinguish between manslaughter and murder.

It would also be a useful precedent for those shouting about low conviction rates for rape. Part of the reason there (and only part of it to be sure) is that juries distinguish between \”rape rape\” and what they consider to be lesser crimes. By providing for just such a distinction we would expect conviction rates to rise.

Of course, such a distinction will run straight into the brick wall of \”rape is rape\”, that political construct which insists that even while people do distinguish they should not do so.

But then these sorts of problems when political constructs meet the real world are hardly unusual, are they?

Yes, they\’re stealing again

The government is to unveil radical proposals that would give football fans first option to buy their clubs when they were put up for sale and require clubs to hand over a stake of up to 25% to supporters\’ groups.

This is, quite simply, theft.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Man U, they\’re worth around the £400 million mark each aren\’t they? So the net effect of this is a forced transfer of some £100 million from those who currently have it to those who do not.

And yes, forced transfers of this kind can indeed be called theft, the law be damned.

What is this woman on?

James Bulger\’s killer Jon Venables proves vengeance does not work. Now it\’s time for mercy

Mary Riddell.

Look at what actually happened to Jon Venables.

Horrific crime, trial, sentence, yes. Was he then thrown in a cell and the key chucked away? No, actually, he wasn\’t.

He had the best education and upbringing the State could provide (we might argue about how good that was but….). He was released as he became an adult.

Whatever this was it wasn\’t vengeance. So the outcome of the process proves nothing at all about vengeance and it\’s workingness or not workingness.

Daily Mail headline

Burglary victims attacked in their own home once every 30 minutes

So how does this work then? Is there a queue outside? A rota system? You sign in on a clipboard?

\”\’Ere, Darren, can I swap my 10:30 slot wiv\’ you for the 9:30? Only it\’s me Jobcentre time see an\’ I ca\’n miss out on tha\’\”?


The murder rate has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years but police admit that the main reason may be the skills of paramedics and advances in medicine rather than a decline in violent attacks.

Murder is used as an indicative measure for overall crime. Because it\’s one of the very few that are completely definable. You\’ve got a body dead here by violent means. So we can use this as a proxy for other crime which can be more neulous in its definition.

However, if the number of attempted murders is static (and I don\’t know whether they are) but murder itself is falling as a result of better medical treatment then perhaps the fall in the headline rate of murder is not indicative of a fall in general levels of crime or of violent crime against the person.

A similar point is made about battlefield deaths. Military health care is so much better than it was that the ratios of dead to wounded have changed dramatically over the past few decades.

In praise of domestic violence

The perils of life as a sporting Wag loom large this week. Tiger Woods appears to be in the doghouse after claims – malicious, I\’m sure – of an extra-marital dalliance with a pillow-lipped birdie. But if it had been true, and wife Elin took revenge on him and his 4×4 with a handy five iron, then give the girl a medal. Too many wives endure humiliation for the sake of the perks that come with marriage to someone rich and famous.

Liz Hunt.

O Tempora

Police spend £800,000 a year on music rights
Police forces are paying hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to allow officers to listen to music at their desks, in canteens and even in cell blocks.

Well, yes, I suppose it is news that police forces obey the law these days……


An IT expert who produced fake train tickets worth more than £12,000 has been spared jail.

Jonathan Moore, 27, used his laptop to create near-perfect copies of season tickets that allowed him to travel free for two years.

His fraud was discovered only when a ticket inspector on a train to Brighton noticed a variation in the colour of the ticket. A further 11 forged tickets dating back to 2006 were discovered in the plastic wallet in which Moore kept his ticket.

He got charged the full cost of all of the old tickets.

Silly boy: the first rule of any scam is that if you\’ve got away with it then destroy the evidence that you have. Then if you do get caught it\’s a \”first time tryout Guv\’, yes, I know I\’ve been silly, sorry.\”

But that\’s why you read this blog, right? To find out how to fiddle the system?

On those rape conviction statistics

Interesting point being made:

Since 1999 the Home Office has known that its methods for calculating rape convictions are wrong. The real conviction rate is not the publicly broadcast 10 per cent but closer to 50 per cent (it varies slightly from year to year). In a Minority Report (1) which I wrote for a Home Office committee in 2000 but which advisers refused to forward to ministers who were then actively considering new rape legislation, the HO were told that they were confusing ‘attrition’ rates with ‘conviction’ rates.

The attrition rate refers to the number of convictions secured compared with the number of that particular crime reported to the police (it must be noted that a crime that is ‘reported’ does not automatically imply that the crime actually took place). The conviction rate refers to the number of convictions secured against the number of persons brought to trial for that given offence.

Rape is the only crime judged by the attrition rate. All others – murder, assault, robbery, and so on – are assessed by their conviction rates. Why?

My word

Two in three days.

A woman who falsely accused her ex-boyfriend of rape when he broke off their relationship was jailed yesterday for her \’vile lies\’.

Incidence of false rape claims seems to be 60 times higher than previously estimated…..if one every 6 months were to be taken as our previous estimate.

Scum, just scum

In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a \”wedding\” ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard – essentially raped by her \”husband.\”

Well I\’ll be buggered

They really are desperate, aren\’t they?

There was something sensible-ish about the Criminal Compensation Board. If you had a criminal record then any compensation you got under the scheme was reduced.

Now they\’re extending this scheme of discounts:

Under the new rules, a deduction must be made for any unspent convictions, including motoring offences, \’unless there are exceptional circumstances\’.

Motoring offenders\’ compensation payments will be cut by between ten and 25 per cent – the same reductions that apply to hardened criminals.

Yup, if you\’re raped and also have a speeding ticket then your compensation is reduced.

All to save £5 million next year. That is, to save the amount by which the catering system (one of our favourite numbers around here) at the Palace of Westminster is subsidised.

Why is my mind filled with visions of rolling tumbrils?

What does this mean?

Cameron\’s \”Broken Britain\” trope never refers to the fact that the risk of being a victim of any kind of crime was 40% in 1995 and is now 23%.

Risk? Percentage?

Does Polly mean that 23% of the population are victims of crime in any one year? What?


Civil servants have refused to name inmates who have fled prison even though individual police forces will often identify them if they pose a risk to the public.

They say releasing their names would breach obligations under the Data Protection Act.

Operation Ore

Shows what happens when you take your eye off the ball.

What could be clearer evidence of guilt than that? As their solicitors told them, it did not matter that their computers had been examined and found to be free of child pornography, or that they could produce alibis to show they could not have been at their keyboards when they were supposed to have signed up for the child porn. Judges and juries found the electronic data irrefutable.

But the electronic data wasn\’t irrefutable. One simple possibility appears not to have occurred to the police or any of the lawyers assigned to the accused: that they had been the victims of identity theft. Someone had got hold of their credit card details and identified the perfect way to rack up charges: create a subscription service child-porn web site (it need not actually have any child porn on it, just a suitably disgusting name), then charge a subscription to the stolen card.

I thought everyone knew that Operation Ore was hopelessly compromised by identity theft? I can\’t remember who it was that was blogging about it ages ago. Possibly Alex at Yorkshire Ranter, maybe Unity? But certainly they left me with the clear conclusion that no weight at all could be put on the simple existence of the credit cards details being found.

So I proceeded merrily on, assuming that this was all sorted. Clearly not though.

I\’m not quite sure what it shows. That I simply don\’t pay enough attention? That solving things on blogs isn\’t the same as solving them in the real world? That certain prosecutions can involve the police being lying scumbags?

Any other ideas?

The crime of sexual harassment

Half of prison service staff personally experience sexually explicit language and sexual jokes and stories every week while at work, according to an internal survey of workers.

Female staff are more likely to experience unwanted persistent attention, bullying related to gender and inappropriate or unwanted touching.

What did anyone expect what with their being surrounded by criminals?