Neymar and his Brazil colleagues were held to a frustrating goalless draw after a spirited display by a callow England team in Tuesday’s friendly match at Wembley Stadium. Brazil coach Tite was able to name a first-choice starting XI, but despite the presence of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho in the visitors’ line-up, they tested England goalkeeper Joe Hart only three times.
For Gareth Southgate’s England, who were once again without stars such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling through injury, it was a second successive encouraging 0-0 draw following Friday’s stalemate with Germany.
Liverpool forward Dominic Solanke’s appearance as a late substitute made him the sixth England player to have made his debut over the two games. “In terms of heart, resilience and spirit, it was up there with anything I’ve been involved in,” Southgate told ITV. “We’ve played the best two teams in the world and kept two clean sheets, which gives us something to build on.”
While Southgate reflected with pride on his young team’s maturity, it was a case of back to the drawing board for Tite. Brazil have won 13 of their 17 games since he took charge in June 2016, but their failure to unsettle such green opponents raised questions about their prospects of a sixth World Cup triumph in Russia next year.
“One team was proposing the game, trying to exert pressure in a high line and play with the ball,” Tite said. “The other team was defending more, playing more compact and waiting for a mistake to counter-attack.
“In a match like this, we’ll have fewer opportunities. But although we had fewer opportunities than in other matches, we had the best ones. I can’t remember one or two chances for them that scared us.”
Style and little substance
Jesus worked Hart with a near-post header from a Dani Alves cross 12 minutes in. Yet for all their back-heels and bravado, Brazil made few inroads, with Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar twice ballooning shots high into the seating behind Hart’s goal.
England worked Brazil goalkeeper Alisson only once before half-time and he had little trouble fielding a rasping drive from Marcus Rashford. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who had starred on his debut against Germany, would last only 34 minutes on his return to Wembley as injury obliged him to cede his place to Jesse Lingard.
Brazil created their first clear chance early in the second period when Neymar’s pass freed Coutinho, only for the recalled Hart to block with his legs. Substitute Fernandinho went even closer with 14 minutes remaining, but after a surging run from halfway, his low 25-yard effort grazed the left-hand post.
A spate of substitutions had the effect of opening up space in the England half, but still the hosts resisted. Ashley Young marked his return after four years in the international wilderness by sliding in to block from Willian seconds after coming on, while Hart stood up well to thwart Roberto Firmino from Neymar’s pass.
Solanke, 20, might have claimed a famous winner at the death when Young’s deep cross from the left found him unmarked at the back post, but Alisson slid out bravely to block.
Behind the garb of wealth and success, white collar criminals are hiding in plain sight
Understanding the forces that motivate leaders to become fraudsters.
Most con artists are very easy to like; the ones that belong to the corporate society, even more so. The Jordan Belforts of the world are confident, sharp and can smooth-talk their way into convincing people to bend at their will. For years, Harshad Mehta, a practiced con-artist, employed all-of-the-above to earn the sobriquet “big bull” on Dalaal Street. In 1992, the stockbroker used the pump and dump technique, explained later, to falsely inflate the Sensex from 1,194 points to 4,467. It was only after the scam that journalist Sucheta Dalal, acting on a tip-off, broke the story exposing how he fraudulently dipped into the banking system to finance a boom that manipulated the stock market.
In her book ‘The confidence game’, Maria Konnikova observes that con artists are expert storytellers - “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” Harshad Mehta’s story was an endearing rags-to-riches tale in which an insurance agent turned stockbroker flourished based on his skill and knowledge of the market. For years, he gave hope to marketmen that they too could one day live in a 15,000 sq.ft. posh apartment with a swimming pool in upmarket Worli.
One such marketman was Ketan Parekh who took over Dalaal Street after the arrest of Harshad Mehta. Ketan Parekh kept a low profile and broke character only to celebrate milestones such as reaching Rs. 100 crore in net worth, for which he threw a lavish bash with a star-studded guest-list to show off his wealth and connections. Ketan Parekh, a trainee in Harshad Mehta’s company, used the same infamous pump-and-dump scheme to make his riches. In that, he first used false bank documents to buy high stakes in shares that would inflate the stock prices of certain companies. The rise in stock prices lured in other institutional investors, further increasing the price of the stock. Once the price was high, Ketan dumped these stocks making huge profits and causing the stock market to take a tumble since it was propped up on misleading share prices. Ketan Parekh was later implicated in the 2001 securities scam and is serving a 14-years SEBI ban. The tactics employed by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh were similar, in that they found a loophole in the system and took advantage of it to accumulate an obscene amount of wealth.
Call it greed, addiction or smarts, the 1992 and 2001 Securities Scams, for the first time, revealed the magnitude of white collar crimes in India. To fill the gaps exposed through these scams, the Securities Laws Act 1995 widened SEBI’s jurisdiction and allowed it to regulate depositories, FIIs, venture capital funds and credit-rating agencies. SEBI further received greater autonomy to penalise capital market violations with a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.
Despite an empowered regulatory body, the next white-collar crime struck India’s capital market with a massive blow. In a confession letter, Ramalinga Raju, ex-chairman of Satyam Computers convicted of criminal conspiracy and financial fraud, disclosed that Satyam’s balance sheets were cooked up to show an excess of revenues amounting to Rs. 7,000 crore. This accounting fraud allowed the chairman to keep the share prices of the company high. The deception, once revealed to unsuspecting board members and shareholders, made the company’s stock prices crash, with the investors losing as much as Rs. 14,000 crores. The crash of India’s fourth largest software services company is often likened to the bankruptcy of Enron - both companies achieved dizzying heights but collapsed to the ground taking their shareholders with them. Ramalinga Raju wrote in his letter “it was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten”, implying that even after the realisation of consequences of the crime, it was impossible for him to rectify it.
It is theorised that white-collar crimes like these are highly rationalised. The motivation for the crime can be linked to the strain theory developed by Robert K Merton who stated that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (the importance of money, social status etc.). Not having the means to achieve those goals leads individuals to commit crimes.
Take the case of the executive who spent nine years in McKinsey as managing director and thereafter on the corporate and non-profit boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Harvard Business School. Rajat Gupta was a figure of success. Furthermore, his commitment to philanthropy added an additional layer of credibility to his image. He created the American India Foundation which brought in millions of dollars in philanthropic contributions from NRIs to development programs across the country. Rajat Gupta’s descent started during the investigation on Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan hedge fund manager accused of insider trading. Convicted for leaking confidential information about Warren Buffet’s sizeable investment plans for Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta was found guilty of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Safe to say, Mr. Gupta’s philanthropic work did not sway the jury.
The people discussed above have one thing in common - each one of them was well respected and celebrated for their industry prowess and social standing, but got sucked down a path of non-violent crime. The question remains - Why are individuals at successful positions willing to risk it all? The book Why They Do It: Inside the mind of the White-Collar Criminal based on a research by Eugene Soltes reveals a startling insight. Soltes spoke to fifty white collar criminals to understand their motivations behind the crimes. Like most of us, Soltes expected the workings of a calculated and greedy mind behind the crimes, something that could separate them from regular people. However, the results were surprisingly unnerving. According to the research, most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do–on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. They often didn’t realise the consequences of their action and got caught in the flow of making more money.
The arena of white collar crimes is full of commanding players with large and complex personalities. Billions, starring Damien Lewis and Paul Giamatti, captures the undercurrents of Wall Street and delivers a high-octane ‘ruthless attorney vs wealthy kingpin’ drama. The show looks at the fine line between success and fraud in the stock market. Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund kingpin, skilfully walks on this fine line like a tightrope walker, making it difficult for Chuck Rhoades, a US attorney, to build a case against him.