Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Call To Investigate Payments to Egyptian Cultural Officials

The New York Times has published an article indicating that Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities minister, has received as much as $200,000 per year from National Geographic and that he has (presumably in his official capacity) made Egyptian antiquities available to National Geographic for its reports.

The article also states
Arts and Exhibitions International, secured Mr. Hawass’s permission several years ago to take some of the country’s most precious treasures, the artifacts of King Tut, on a world tour; its top executives recently started a separate venture to market a Zahi Hawass line of clothing.,,,,,,
Two Tut exhibitions organized by the company have traveled to 15 cities so far.....By the time the tours end in 2013, they will have brought Egypt close to $100 million.
It has been implied in the press that Farouk Hosny, the long time Egyptian Minister of highly desired ancient Egyptian artifacts to American museums in order to have his own paintings exhibited in their galleries.

Both Zahi Hawass and Farouk Hosny have recently survived criminal charges brought by authorities of the new Egyptian government.

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
prohibit(s) the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity, induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person. 
Perhaps the U.S. Government should formally investigate whether benefits offered to Zahi Hawass and Farouk Hosny were permissible under the act.

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