Boeing was desperate for titanium — the nuts, bolts, rivets, washers, all thousands of them for its new Dreamliner aircraft (its fuel-efficient competition to the super-size Airbus). The parts had to be titanium because of the weight issues. However, in 2006, there was a worldwide shortage of titanium. For help with its supply chain issues, Boeing turned to McKinsey & Co., the gold standard for offering “best practices” to its clients. And McKinsey did come up with a proposal: Boeing would join a titanium mining partnership that would be financed by a Urkranian oligarch to mine titanium in India. The McKinsey proposal indicated that Boeing would have to do “character due diligence” on the deal because of the risks of doing business with oligarchs, especially oligarchs from the Ukraine who are close to Vladimir V. Putin. And throw in some other partners from Sri Lanka, India, and Hungary and you have warning buzzers.
In fact, a PowerPoint slide attached to the McKinsey proposal indicated that winning permits for the titanium mines would involve bribing officials of the Indian government. The slide emerged in the course of discovery that the Justice Department was doing on a case involving Dmitry Firtash, the head of the mining consortium.
Everyone denies that there was bribery, but the slide indicates that there were a number of Indian officials open to bribery. Boeing and McKinsey have both cooperated with the Justice Department.
This one smells. Funny how denials seem to be fade as PowerPoint slides emerge. That’s because :truth percolates.