Jan 7, 2009

Satyam Computer Scam 2008 - 2009

Happy New Year 2009 everybody. For Satyam (SAY) shareholders this new year does not look happy at all. The chairman of the company came out with a confession letter yesterday detailing how he kept the profit books cooked for several years at the company.

It is sad to hear to this and your blood will boil if you happen to be a shareholder of Satyam, either in the Indian markets or the ADS listed on NYSE (SAY).

The auditors (PWC) are definitely getting chastised by many people, but now the board members will also be clearly under scrutiny. More details are emerging too, ranging from missing bank statements, to the real meaning of the insider transactions (sales of shares) in Sep 2008, by top mgmt.

While some say (sorry) that this will tarnish India's shining image of growth and affect outsourcing, I feel that a knee jerk reaction would not last long to affect business with India. What might really happen is a closer scrutiny of the entire business model in India and a consequent improvement in corporate governance and a healthy skepticism at profit bubbles.

What really caught my eye was this phrase from the confession:
"It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten" (link to the scanned letter)

There you go, he has himself given suggestions towards the kind of punishment that may be meted out to him. Get a tiger (man-eating or non man-eating, Indian or Siberian), find a forest and then set him on the tiger and of course, track him with a webcam attached to a bird. J/K, but you have to have a small chuckle at the guts of this guy (R. Raju) to in giving analogies when talking about billion dollar losses.

If you want to follow more discussion on SAY, you can visit some popular South Asian blogs - Sepia Mutiny and Indian National Interest.


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