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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Key Obama official received $255,000 from RIL, TCS

Key Obama official received $255,000 from RIL, TCS

April 06, 2009 09:42 IST

Two Indian companies - Reliance Industries and Tata Consultancy Services - figure in the financial disclosure report submitted by Lawrence Summers, director of President Barack Obama's National Economic Council.

The disclosure document, submitted on March 23, showed how Summers and other senior advisors to Obama earned large salaries from the companies they were involved with and served in lucrative positions on corporate boards.

The documents show that RIL paid Summers $187,500 in 2008 as "advisory board fees". Asked about the disclosure, an RIL spokesperson said, Summers, besides other international luminaries, was part of the Reliance Industries International Advisory Board and the Reliance Innovation Leadership Council that guided the company on global issues.

Summers had resigned from both these commitments before he joined the US government on January 20, the spokesperson added.

Summers' disclosure form, which covers his income in 2008 and the first three months of this year, also shows that TCS paid him $67,500 for a "speaking engagement" on September 21, 2008.

A TCS spokesperson said the company had a sustained marketing programme to develop the brand in key geographies across the globe. A part of the programme involved a speaker series and panel discussions among distinguished thought leaders. Summers was part of one such series last year in his capacity as a reputed economist and professor at Harvard University.

Meanwhile, the document, released by the White House on Saturday, has generated considerable controversy since many of the companies mentioned in the list received taxpayer money in the form of bailout funds.

For instance, Summers also received "speaking fees" of $67,500 from JP Morgan, $45,000 from Citigroup, $135,000 from Goldman Sachs and $67,500 from Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt in the mortgage crisis last year.

In fact, Lehman, which declared bankruptcy in September, paid Summers $67,500 for an engagement on July 30, the filing showed.

Summers, a former US treasury secretary and Harvard University president, received $2.7 million in speaking fees from a range of organisations and companies.

BS Reporter in Mumbai