International -- Readers Report
Indover Bank Begs to Differ (int'l edition)
We have serious objections to what you wrote about Indover Bank ("Where did the billions go?" Asian Business, Feb. 28). To summarize, you said that in the course of Indonesia's financial crisis, Indover bank has been involved in possibly illegal financial help to Bahana, orchestrated by our shareholder Bank Indonesia.
This is untrue. The only transaction ever between Indover Bank and Bahana regarded a loan of $10 million against normal market conditions, which was rendered to Bahana on Dec. 22, 1995, well before the crisis of 1998 and at a time when Bahana was a sound company. Meanwhile, $5 million was repaid by Bahana on Dec. 22, 1997, to us. The remaining $5 million is outstanding against normal market conditions. The suggestions as supplied by anonymous investment bankers and anonymous Bahana executives are untrue.
It was also stated that Indover is one of the "affiliated parties" of Bank Indonesia's records that purchased Bahana paper. That is not true, either. General Manager D. van Leeuwen refused to answer additional questions concerning Indover Bank's clients citing confidentiality. You will appreciate that a bank has a legal obligation of confidentiality toward its clients.
Indover Bank is independent in its decision-making from Bank Indonesia and is under the supervision of De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank) and is complying with all applicable rules and regulations.
AmsterdamEditor's note: BUSINESS WEEK stands by the facts in the story.Return to top
Protect Your Privacy by Blocking Web Site "Cookies" (int'l edition)
After reading "Privacy: Outrage on the Web" (News Analysis & Commentary, Feb 14), I wondered: Why doesn't everyone just block incoming cookies? The procedure is quick and very simple and I assume effective.
It does have one disadvantage: Not all sites can be accessed if you do not accept their cookies. I recently tried to shop at Gap.com, only to find that I could not gain access without accepting the cookie, so they lost my business. I can see no reason why I should be expected to surrender more information about myself if I shop on the Web than I would be expected to provide if I went into the store.
All that is needed is for more people to do the same, and stores would have to drop their information-gathering policy. I suspect that the main reason why people do not do this is because they do not realize just how easy it is. What is needed is for some widely read magazines to inform their readers about this quick and simple way to increase their privacy.
LondonReturn to top
How Germany's Greens Grabbed Market Share (int'l edition)
"Surprise, the German Greens are marching with business" (International Outlook, Feb. 28) is a case study in marketing. The Greens first outflanked mainstream parties by championing principled issues such as "environment, women, peace." As this restricted them to 6.7% of voter support, they diagnosed the problem as being a slow-selling "product" and not the way they were supporting it.
Their brilliant solution was to switch sides: By becoming more pro-business than the mainstream, they outflanked it on the other side, thus upping their market share to 9%. This illustrates the high regard in which the Green leadership holds its electorate, and their joint success in transforming principles into discardable commodities.
AthensReturn to top