From Corner Office To Corner Cell

A fresh wave of corruption cases is shaking the Continent

When the cell door clanged shut at 1 a.m. in La Sante prison in Paris, France's long-running exorcism of corruption crossed a new threshold. Although dozens of business executives are under investigation, no high-level corporate leader had been jailed in France until the July 5 lockup of Loik Le Floch-Prigent. An ex-bureaucrat who ran France's largest company, oil giant Elf Aquitaine, the 52-year-old Le Floch now heads the French railways. He symbolizes the baronial power of state-backed executives, which many consider the root of French white-collar crime.

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