I just read a post on Dealbook talking about the MIST countries. You’ve heard of the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. BRIC countries represent four of the riskiest countries for corruption in the world. Now, investors are apparently interested in the MIST countries. This is starting to remind me of the neighborhood names in New York City: DUMBO, SOHO, NOHO, TriBeCa.
Anyway, here comes MIST: Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey. Respetively, 98, 110, 39, and 56 on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Korea’s place on the TI list belies the risk there because the culture is so different as to challenge US-based compliance officers to make good decisions. Mexico is a nightmare, as is Indonesia. I heard a story about Mexico (though I haven’t seen it myself) that although the courts are closed over Christmas week, everyone is still there, because the law firms come and line up to give gifts to the Judges. Firms compete, I was told, to give the nicest gifts. I do know that in order to get copies of judgments for service, you have to tip the court clerks. These tips, called Morditas or little bites, are standard. Law firms pay them; I wonder how they appear on client bills. As facilitation payments?
As for the Cloud, just as an aside, the common usage of the term is so far from reality that I call it The Fog.
So now we have the Cloud, the Fog, and the MIST. Coming to an FCPA prosecution near you.