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The US Interior Secretary’s corruption scandal

When the privileged oil fields are transferred to the Ministry of the Interior, from there companies under the Minister are exploited without bidding.

In the 1920s, the U.S. Navy modernized its force and converted its coal-fired ships to oil to be more efficient. To ensure the ability to supply oil to ships, the government grants the Navy exclusive lands with oil fields for use in an emergency..

Some of these lands include Tea Pot Dome, Wyoming, Elk Hills, California and will be under Navy control.

However, when Warren Harding became the 29th President, in 1921, this privilege slipped from the Navy. President Harding was known to be a flower digger, fond of playing cards and drinking with his subordinates, who had followed him since his days as a Senator for Ohio, known as the “Ohio Gang”. After he became President, all were appointed to senior government positions.

The 29th President of the United States, Warren Harding. Photo: National Portrait Gallery

One of them was Interior Secretary Albert Fall. A few days after taking office, Albert Fall whispered to the president to take back control of three oil fields that were being used by the Navy.

The nod of President Harding opened the chain of largest scandals in American history, second only to Watergate, which took place five decades later.

In addition to managing the oil fields, the Ministry of the Interior is also allowed to sign production contracts with private oil and gas companies on the condition that they undergo public bidding.

After transferring control of the oil-rich lands to units within the Ministry of the Interior, Albert Fall began secret negotiations with some wealthy friends in the oil industry.

In 1922 in the absence of any competitive bidding process or public announcement, Albert Fall awarded the exclusive drilling rights to the Tea Pot Dome oil field to Mammoth Oil Company, which was owned by friend Harry Sinclair Perennial.

The remaining two oil fields also have exclusive rights to exploit without bidding. Mining companies are all owned by close friends of the Minister. Meanwhile, Albert Fall was “loaned” by these companies to more than $ 500,000 to buy real estate everywhere, an amount equivalent to tens of millions of dollars today.

The three oil fields are estimated to produce hundreds of millions of dollars in high-grade oil, but the companies are subject to almost no public or tax obligations to the locality, except for the construction of a few bridges and insignificant structures.

By April 1922, rumors of this shady deal began to circulate when local oilers noticed trucks bearing the Sinclair Company logo carrying mining equipment to the Teapot Dome oil field.

The very next day, ohn Kendrick, a Democrat from Wyoming, presented a resolution to open a Senate investigation into transactions involving these oil fields.

One of the most important criminal investigations in the history of the US Senate has officially been launched.

Albert Fall (right) during his tenure as Home Secretary.  Photo: Walmart

Albert Fall (right) during his tenure as Home Secretary. Photo: Walmart

In January 1923, less than two years after taking office, Albert Fall resigned as Secretary of the Interior to retire to a giant ranch in New Mexico, which he bought with funds given to him by the oil business. loan” earlier. But for now, the Senate investigations into the Teapot Dome oil field continue.

President Harding questioned Albert Fall of corruption. Other members of Harding’s cabinet, all members of the “Ohio Gang”, also face multiple charges of corruption and alcohol smuggling.

The President once had to say to the press: “I have no problem with my enemies. But damn friends keep driving me crazy in the dark.”

In June 1923, just before the investigations began, President Harding went on a cross-country tour. Upon his return, he began to experience shortness of breath and cramps, then died suddenly in San Francisco on August 2, 1923 from complications of a heart attack.

With the loss of political cover, former Minister Albert Fall was quickly discovered the above violations. The directors of backyard companies admitted to handing cash directly to Albert Fall. According to the description, the money was stacked in lumps of $20,000 in a black parcel bag.

Meanwhile, Albert Fall kept the oilfield lease agreement secret to protect the sites from the prying eyes of surreptitious miners. This “excuse” was not accepted by the members of the Senate.

Reporters gathered outside the Senate during the hearings on the oil scandal.  Photo: thoughtco

Reporters gathered outside the Senate during the oil scandal hearings. Photo: thoughtco

In the fall of 1929, former minister Albert Fall was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $100,000 for the crime WOMENregret bribery. But in the end, he was exempt from the fine because his entire property was confiscated. Albert Fall spent 9 months in prison, then released due to poor health. He died in 1944 after a long illness.

His oil contracts with three backyard companies were also cancelled.

In January 2015, the Department of Energy sold the notorious Teapot Dome reserve under a competitive bidding process. After producing 22 million barrels of oil and earning $569 million for the US government, Teapot Dome was sold to Stranded Oil Resources Corporation for $45.2 million.

Hai Thu (Follow History, Apprend, ThoughtCo, HistoryCentral)


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Four former Hanoi traffic inspectors continue to appear in court

Four former traffic inspectors were charged with accepting bribes of more than 300 million dong to ignore violations for “king cars”, after more than 2 postponements of the trial.

The first-instance hearing at the Hanoi People’s Court is scheduled to open on July 20. This will be the third court appearance of the defendants.

For the first time, on August 11, 2020, the court returned the file for additional investigation because it found there was no basis for criminal prosecution against some of the people involved.

On May 11, after a day of questioning, the trial panel continued to postpone the trial to verify more evidence that could not be clarified at the trial.

Four defendants were prosecuted by the Procuracy for crimes Bribery, according to Clause 2, Article 354, of the Penal Code, are former traffic inspectors from Hanoi Department of Transport and districts, including: Le Ba Dung, 46 years old; Tran Sy Cuong, 37 years old; Nguyen Quoc Cuong, 47 years old and Hoang Van Lan, 58 years old.

The defendants at the first instance hearing on May 11. Photo: Hai Thu

The remaining three were charged with the crime Give bribes, according to Clause 4, Article 364, the Penal Code including: Nguyen Anh Hao, 40 years old; Pham Van Vinh, 28 years old, and Le Van Cuong, 39 years old, former officers of Road Administration Department I.6 under Road Administration Department I – Directorate for Roads of Vietnam.

The indictment determined that, in mid-2016, Vinh (General Director of Tuan Vinh Transport and Trade Investment Joint Stock Company) and Cuong and Hao discussed to find and invite truck owners who often carried overloaded goods to pay. protection so as not to be checked, to ignore violations, or to be lightly punished.

The cars will stick with Tuan Vinh’s logo and every month, Vinh will use the money to have “relationships” with transport officials. From June 2016 to October 2018, the accused group collected more than 6.2 billion VND from truck drivers to give bribes and personal benefits.

The Procuracy determined that Hao benefited VND 250 million, Cuong VND 180 million and Vinh VND 140 million.

Four former traffic inspectors received bribes of more than 300 million VND, of which Dung 96 million; Quoc Cuong 63 million VND; Sy Cuong 136 million VND; and Hoang Van Lan received 11 million dong and a bottle of wine.

During the interrogation at the previous two court sessions, the four former traffic inspectors said most of the time they received money from the brokerage group to ignore violations for vehicles with this group’s identification logo. Due to the long time, the defendants did not clearly remember the number of times they received the money, the total benefit amount, the content of the agreement and exchange with the brokerage group.

Cuong, who was determined by the Procuracy to receive the most bribes with 136 million dong, admitted to the charges, but said that he “didn’t have the right to decide how to punish because he was just a driver of the inspection team”.

Defendant Tran Sy Cuong in the trial on May 11 testified that he was only an agency driver and did not have the authority to decide on penalties.  Photo: Hai Thu

Defendant Tran Sy Cuong in the trial on May 11 said he was “just an agency driver” and did not have the authority to decide on penalties. Photo: Hai Thu

Three members of the brokerage group admitted that since mid-2016, they have collected money from transport businesses every month on the number of vehicles with their own logos. The defendants were then allowed to have “relationships” with transport officials to be ignored or lightly handled with violations, most of which were overloaded and speeded.

Hai Thu