Interviewer: Mr. Thompson, you reported net income for the year as $2.2 million and also discussed your business banking initiative and the planned merger. Were these reports and initiatives accurate?

Mr. Thompson: Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I regret to say that I was untruthful on two very specific points; net interest income and the percentage of shareholders that voted in favor for the proposed merger.

Interviewer: What was not true about these two points?

Mr. Thompson: The actual net income was actually only $1.2 million and the percentage of shareholders that voted in favor of the proposed merger was only 80%, not 99%.

Interviewer: This is highly embarrassing. What lead to this course of behavior?

Mr. Thompson: A few weeks prior to reporting these results, our compeititon had just released news that their profit had yesterday skyrocketed, and of course I was immensely concerned about what our shareholders would make of that. I was aware that we had a good quarter and that numbers would be slightly better than expected, but here I was, with the challenge of making sure our shareholders took note of the great accomplishments we achieved. Initially, I had toyed with the idea of ever so slightly exaggerating the figures to make them look better. This was wrong of me, I know this, but the idea had taken a hold of me, and was determined to spin it in a way that made our performance sound remarkable and a real challenge to our competitors.

I remembered hearing stories of a famous ploy used by Eva Peron known as “La Mejor Propaganda.” The requirement was to make the news as outstanding as possible in order to make the people resound it and make it go virile. At the time, this seemed like a genius idea! The deadline was drawing near and I was under immense pressure. I caved and embellished the results, crossing a line that I’m still ashamed of.

Looking back, I should have done the right thing; releasing an honest and accurate report. I now deeply regret my decision to take the shortcut and present an exaggerated report. Better judgement should have prevailed.

Interviewer: What can you provide as assurance that this won’t happen again?

Mr. Thompson: I can assure that this is the first and last time something like this will happen. We are implementing preventative measures to ensure that the figures are thoroughly reviewed and that honest findings are reported. In the end, honesty matters, and I’m committed to making sure that this will be reflected in our future financial reports.

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