Regulator arrested for graft
The head of the Special Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business was arrested for allegedly receiving bribes from a private oil company, anti-graft officials said yesterday. The Corruption Eradication Commission on Tuesday confiscated US$400,000 in cash and arrested an unidentified man handing it over at the home of Rudi Rubiandini, chair of the task force, commission spokesman Johan Budi said. The raid also led to the arrests of an oil company official in western Jakarta along with Rubiandini’s driver and two security guards, Budi said without naming the oil company. An additional US$300,000 and a luxury motorbike were later confiscated from Rubiandini’s house in southern Jakarta, anti-graft commissioner Bambang Widjojanto said.
Fonterra manager resigns
A senior manager at New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra resigned yesterday in the wake of a botulism scare. Fonterra said Gary Romano had already left the company. In his role as managing director of New Zealand Milk Products, Romano oversaw the tainted product line that sparked a global recall. Fonterra announced this month that hundreds of tonnes of infant formula could be tainted after tests found bacteria in whey protein concentrate that can cause botulism. Fonterra said last week that a recall of the products had been successful, with no reported cases of people contracting the disease.
Samsung faces Brazil suit
A labor group said Samsung Electronics Co is facing a lawsuit from Brazil’s government, which is seeking damages over poor working conditions at the company’s assembly lines. Reporter Brasil, a labor rights group, said on its Web site that Brazil’s labor ministry found “serious” labor violations, including up to 15 hours of work per day and insufficient breaks, at Samsung’s Manaus factory. The group said the lawsuit is seeking US$108 million in damages. Prosecutors allege more than 2,000 workers suffered from health problems such as back injuries last year that were related to working conditions, the group said. Samsung yesterday said it would cooperate with Brazilian authorities.
Inflation rises sharply
Inflation accelerated sharply to close to 6 percent last month as a weak rupee pushed up import costs, data showed yesterday, deepening worries about the slowing economy. The wholesale price index, the nation’s closest watched cost-of-living gauge, rose to 5.79 percent from a year earlier, up nearly a percentage point from 4.86 percent the previous month. Last month’s reading far outstripped market forecasts of a 5 percent year-on-year rise. The increase was driven by higher fuel imports and other costs after the rupee hit new lifetime lows against the US dollar in the past month.
Cathay Pacific posts profit
Cathay Pacific Airways says it has eked out a small first-half profit as weak global demand continues to batter its air cargo business. The carrier yesterday said it earned HK$24 million (US$3.1 million) in the January-June period. That is a turnaround from the restated HK$929 million it lost in the same period last year, but less than analysts were forecasting. Hong Kong’s biggest airline said air cargo revenue fell 5 percent from the year before, while its passenger business saw some improvement. The airline said high jet fuel prices continued to have an “adverse” effect.