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Pirates and legitimate business are uncomfortably close

Dealing with Kalashnikov-toting sea dogs is a risky business for lawyers: an error in negotiations could cost captive sailors their lives, says Richard Easton

21 January 2014

Dealing with Kalashnikov-toting sea dogs is a risky business for lawyers: an error in negotiations could cost captive sailors their lives, says Richard Easton

In 2010, Harvard Business School waggishly honoured the Gulf of Aden's pirates with the accolade of business model of the year. True, Somali pirates have netted up to US$413m in ransoms from 154 hijackings between 2005 and 2012. But the Harvard awarding panel overlooked the fact that the average boardroom's death rate is far lower than that of Somali pirate gangs, 30 per cent of whose members are lost at sea.

Pirates and legitimate businesses might, however, be uncomfortably close when it comes to ransom payments. A World Bank report on Somalian pirac...

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