Exposing corporate wrongdoing
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Asklepios Kliniken is a major hospital operator in Germany. Founded by billionaire Bernard Broermann in 1984 to capitalize on the privatization of government healthcare facilities, Akslepios recently expanded into the luxury hotel sector with the purchase of three Kempinski hotels. It has been the subject of multiple investigations for failing to provide services that it promised when it bought up hospitals at below market value. For example, at the end of 2019, Asklepios closed a children’s ward in the small town of Parchim in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, obliging residents to travel 50 kilometers to get to the nearest medical facility. Goslar district in Lower Saxony sued Asklepios Kliniken for €20 million in 2019 for failing to guarantee inpatient and emergency care at the Clausthal-Zellerfeld hospital.
Banco Santander is a multinational financial services company that was founded in 1857. It was sued by 34 U.S. states over it’s automobile loans that involved high interest rates and prolonged repayment plans. Some 82 percent of these borrowers were considered sub-prime of whom roughly half defaulted. Despite these high default rates, the bank made a profit by borrowing at low interest rates and then re-selling the loans on the secondary market. In 2020, the bank paid the U.S. government $550 million to have the lawsuits dropped.
Bayer is a chemical and pharmaceutical company that was founded in 1863. Recently it expanded into agricultural products via the acquisition of Monsanto. One of the first controversial products made by Bayer was heroin (named and trademarked in 1898). Monsanto's list of controversial products include Agent Orange, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), genetically-modified crop seeds, and Roundup (the trade name of a toxic glyphosate-based weedkiller. The company is in the process of paying out billions of dollars to convince some 100,000 people to drop lawsuits over Roundup use.
Bechtel is a privately-owned construction company that was founded in 1906. It builds big projects like dams, roads, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. In the 1930s, it was charged with 70,000 separate labor violations during the construction of the Hoover Dam. It has also been charged with installing the San Onofre nuclear reactor backwards and botching the clean up of the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania. Bechtel was in charge of the Boston Central Artery tunnel project (aka the "Big Dig") estimated to be the most expensive highway project in U.S. history. (The $2.5 billion cost estimate ballooned to $24.3 billion.) The company’s contract to privatize the water system in Cochabamba, Bolivia, resulted in price hikes of up to 300 percent.