In 2002, Morganite Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of the company, admitted to price fixing and agreed to pay a $10 million criminal fine. Morgan Crucible pleaded guilty to witness tampering and paid $1 million. Its former chief executive, Ian Norris, was indicted last year for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for more than a decade and then obstructing the criminal investigation. The government charged that he prepared a false script for employees to follow in the investigation and instructed employees to hide or destroy records.
Perle said the Morgan Crucible board cooperated with the authorities, appointed a special committee, retained legal counsel to advise it on how to proceed, "and I believe conducted itself in an exemplary fashion." Regarding the alleged crimes at the company, he said, "I don't believe they reflect on me or any of the other non-executive directors at all, and I don't know of any suggestion to the contrary by anyone."
Perle's Business Ventures: A look at Richard N. Perle's government and public policy-related jobs and how they relate to his business activities.
Perle's Path: Richard N. Perle has translated his Pentagon connections, first established when he served as an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, into an array of corporate directorships and consulting arrangements.
He joined another board in 1990, that of Vikonics Inc., a New Jersey company that marketed security systems to the armed forces. He also had a consulting arrangement that entitled him to receive a 7 percent commission on contracts that he helped the company obtain, according to a regulatory filing.
John L. Kaufman, who was Vikonics' president at the time, recalled in an interview that "what he really had done was help us with introductions to people who he knew," including "high-ranking people in the areas of government there and in the military." He recalled traveling with Perle to Kuwait, where the former Defense Department official received a grateful and enthusiastic welcome shortly after the Persian Gulf War.
"The minister of this or the secretary of that -- no matter who it was, everyone wanted to meet him," Kaufman said. "I do believe that he did help us to gain contracts just by being there to help us."
In 1994, the company announced a contract to install a security system at Kuwait's Ministry of Information, and the kingdom was soon one of Vikonics' largest customers.
Perle recalled phoning the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, about Vikonics. "I talked to Bandar and said I'm on the board of this company, and we make some very high quality security devices, and if there's a market for thesein Saudi Arabia, we'd like to go talk to people who make those decisions. Same thing in Kuwait."
In 1995, Perle resigned from the Vikonics board. The company reported that he had been awarded no commissions and the company was de-emphasizing its efforts in the Middle East in part "due to the limited success to date."
In the early 1990s, Raytheon Co. retained the American Enterprise Institute to advise it on business opportunities in Turkey, and Perle "was one of the associates involved in that process," Raytheon said in a statement.
At times, Perle joined longtime associates in the boardroom. Former Army Chief of Staff Edward C. Meyer, for example, was a director with Perle in FMC's venture in Turkey, and has served with him on three other boards. An investment firm Meyer helped manage granted Perle stock options to run for a board seat. The options produced a profit of about $250,000 for Perle. At Perle's recommendation, Meyer was appointed to join him on another board.
The retired general praised Perle's performance. "I would say he's always been in the top one-third of all of the directors I've seen because he always goes out of his way to understand all the details of what the company is doing and how he can contribute to its success, and a lot of directors do not do that -- they just sit there and nod sagely," Meyer said.
"His contacts are particularly useful to companies that have businesses overseas," Meyer said. The contacts he's seen Perle use "did not have as much to do with the U.S. government as they did . . . foreign governments and foreign personages," he said.
Perle joined Hollinger's board in 1994, having met Black at an annual Bilderberg Conference, where members of the international business and foreign policy elite meet to network and discuss issues.
Friends Helping Friends
Through serving together at Hollinger, Perle became friends with Leonard P. Shaykinwho recruited Perle to serve on the board of a biotech company he headed, NaPro BioTherapeutics Inc., now known as Tapestry Pharmaceuticals Inc. As chairman of that firm's compensation committee, Perle now oversees Shaykin's pay. "Personally, I consider him a friend," Shaykin said in an interview. "I gained a great respect for both his judgment and his negotiating capabilities, which are legendary," he said. "I can tell you Richard hasn't rubber-stamped anything on my board."