‘We have been working to protect our reputation’
NEW YORK — The publishing houses that hold the rights to a number of popular novels are among the most sought-after publishers in the country.
But in the last several years, they have been grappling with a number.
Some are being targeted by federal regulators, including Penguin, whose imprint, HarperCollins, has been accused of paying $2.6 million in bribes to an official in Romania in order to keep the Romanian publishing house, Oratostica, off its list of the country’s top five most lucrative booksellers.
In November, the Justice Department charged that Penguin, the largest publisher of children’s books in the world, and HarperCollins have failed to protect the rights of Romanian authors.
That same month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the companies had failed to adequately address the issue of corruption among their Romanian employees.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for an overhaul of the publishing industry to combat the problem of corruption in Romania.
The academy has said it has reviewed more than 100 cases of corrupt practices at Romanian publishing houses and found that many were not the work of the publishers, but of Romanian officials.
In a new report released Tuesday, the academy said that a number the companies are supposed to have oversight over are not fully functioning.
The report by the American Public Media Institute (APMMI) called on the companies to create a “strong, effective, independent, and transparent governance structure” to prevent the abuse of government contracts and protect authors from corruption.
The academies report also said that Romanian publishing companies “continue to make significant investments” in the United States, despite the “fear of retribution” from Romanian authorities.
APMIA also said the firms have failed in the past to “take necessary steps to protect their reputation” and that the academy is “deeply concerned about the current state of affairs at Oratos.
In addition, the academies believes that a lack of transparency about the amount of payments received by Romanian officials has contributed to a lack (of) trust between the companies and the Romanian public.
The organizations called on both companies to “address the serious issues of corruption and corruption-related conduct in their respective operations” by “developing an accountability structure that is transparent and accountable to the public.”