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Would a person be allowed to give/take bribes to a person responsible for purchasing in a company? Would it be forbidden directly as "shochad" (bribery) or under a general prohibition of Gnevas Daas, etc.

What about paying off politicians?


Examples:

  1. For example, if company A wants to buy a widget, and there are two companies that can provide it. One ("B") will sell it for $100,000, and another ("C") will sell it for $110,000. Your responsibility is to choose which company will supply you with parts. Being that both parts are equal, you will choose company B. However, Company C gives you $500 as a "gift" and you choose company C.

  2. You work as a bureaucrat in country A. Your job is to check if a company is obeying some law. You could bust them and fine them for $1,000,000, but they pay you off and you overlook it.

    What Torah violations (if any) did you just violate in these two cases?

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Are you sure you meant to say that you ignore company C's bribe? –  HodofHod Apr 27 '12 at 21:51
    
@HodofHod oops. fixed –  Shmuel Brin Apr 27 '12 at 21:56
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1 Answer

The idea behind a kickback is generally to steal from a third party. For example Reuven is a buyer from XYZ corp, Shimon is a salesman for ABC inc. Shimon wants to sell widgets to XYZ corp so he comes to Reuven and tries to convince him to have XYZ corp buy them for $100 a piece. Reuven says XYZ corp will pay $120 a piece but I want you to give me (Reuven personally) $10 a widget. So Reuven and Shimon are stealing from XYZ corp.

There are many variations but they all boil down to stealing from a third party. With paying off politicians the third party is the government/the taxpayers.

So I would say that kickbacks are just simple theft.


In your revised examples: In example 1 they have stolen $10,000 from Company A. In example 2 they have stolen $1,000,000 from the government.

Stealing and dishonest business dealings are definitely Torah prohibitions. In example 2, bribery would probably be an issue too.

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