Oct. 3, 2011 at 11:26 AM ET
Koch Industries, the company controlled by GOP mega-donors Charles and David Koch, sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran in an end-run around a trade ban and cheated the government out of nearly 2 million barrels of oil from federal lands, according to a blockbuster report in the November issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine.
The company has also been involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East, the Bloomberg report says.
It says internal company documents show the company made petrochemical equipment sales to Iran through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. The company also repeatedly ran afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.
Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors and lied to regulators, according to Bloomberg Markets magazine’s investigative report. It took 14 reporters from around the globe six months to put the story together.
The company, the report suggests, is obsessed with secrecy, to the point that it discloses only an approximation of its annual revenue -- $100 billion a year -- and says nothing about its profits.
Charles, 75, and David, 71, each worth about $20 billion, are prominent financial backers of several conservative think tanks and nonprofit organizations, such as FreedomWorks and the Cato Institute, that believe excessive regulation is sapping the competitiveness of American business.
Here are some of the investigation’s key allegations:
A spokesperson for the company acknowledged the past mistakes, but said the company has altered its practices and policies to avoid running afoul of the law.
Business Insider contributed to this report.