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Press Release: The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald

Press Release: The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald



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In his critically acclaimed and spell-binding real-life thriller THE INFORMANT: A TRUE STORY, award-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald blew the lid off one of the most bizarre cases in the history of the FBI and corporate America — the incredible story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in American history.

In his critically acclaimed and spell-binding real-life thriller THE INFORMANT: A TRUE STORY, award-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald blew the lid off one of the most bizarre cases in the history of the FBI and corporate America — the incredible story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in American history.


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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Publish date: Aug 11, 2009
Added to Scribd: Oct 07, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Rachel Rokicki212/782-8455rrokicki@randomhouse.com 
 Now a major motion picture from Warner Bros., starring Academy Award-winner Matt Damon and directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh, set for nationwide theatrical release on September 18, 2009
*Ranked as one of the best books of the year by the
 New York Times
, the
Washington Post
 and the Book-of-the-Month Club*
“Ranks with
 A Civil Action
as one of the best nonfiction books of the last decade.”
 New York Times Book Review
 “The thriller of the year—and it’s all true.”
 Dallas Morning News
“Gripping. . .
is a remarkable work and a compelling read. . . You will race through it in anger andastonishment. . . It’s hard to imagine that this story could have had a more thorough chronicler than Eichenwald. . .The intensity of the reportage seems at times almost superhuman.”
“One of the most compelling business narratives since Barbarians at the Gate.”
is a remarkable, fascinating, and fast-paced book…a tangled tale worthy of John Le Carré…one of the most intriguing—and nearly unbelievable—nonfiction books in recent memory.”
“The book reads like John Grisham on acid and once begun, you can’t put it down.”
—Liz Smith
A real page-turner.”
—Ira Glass, host,
This American Life
“Gripping…brilliantly reported…a twisted tale full of object lessons for anyone who seeks “the Truth.”
 Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A jaw-dropping reconstruction of crime and white-collar corruption…[Eichenwald] is one of the finest journalists around.”
 Boston Globe
In his critically acclaimed and spell-binding real-life thriller
award-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald blew the lid off one of the mostbizarre cases in the history of the FBI and corporate America — the incredible story of the highest-rankingcorporate whistleblower in American history.On August 17, 2009, Broadway Books is publishing a movie tie-in edition of Eichenwald’s now-classicbook to coincide with the release by Warner Bros. of a major motion picture based on Eichenwald’s book,starring Academy Award winner Matt Damon (
Good Will Hunting
, the “Bourne” movies) as Marc Whitacre, anddirected by Oscar
winner Steven Soderbergh (
Ocean’s Thirteen
). The movie, titled
,will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on September 11 and is scheduled for nationwide release on Friday,September 18.In his book, Eichenwald tells the outrageously true story of greed, corruption, and conspiracy that left theFBI and Justice Department counting on the cooperation of one man. It was one of the FBI’s biggest secrets: asenior executive with Archer Daniels Midland—America’s most politically powerful corporation—had become aconfidential government witness, secretly recording a vast conspiracy spanning five continents. Marc Whitacre,the promising golden boy of ADM, had put his career and family at risk to wear a wire and deceive his friendsand colleagues. Using Whitacre and a small team of agents to tap into the secrets at ADM, the FBI discovered thecompany’s scheme to steal millions of dollars from its own customers.It looked like an easy case, destined for the annals of FBI crime-busting legends. But as the FBI andfederal prosecutors closed in on ADM, using stakeouts, wiretaps, and secret recordings of illegal meetings aroundthe world, they suddenly found that everything was not all that it appeared. While Whitacre was cooperating withthe feds, playing the role of loyal company man, he had his own agenda that he kept hidden from everyonearound him—his wife, his lawyer, even the FBI agents who had come to trust him with the case on which theyhad staked their careers.
is also about the “story behind the story” of the FBI’s case against ADM.Eichenwald managed what so many others failed to do. He developed a relationship with Whitacre that allowedhim, for the first time, to tell the whole truth. Whitacre became sucked into his own world of James Bond antics,imperiling the criminal case and creating a web of deceit that left the FBI and prosecutors uncertain where the liesstopped and the truth began. In
, Eichenwald separates insidiously convincing fiction fromeven more scintillating fact, and reveals the gritty details of Whitacre’s work for the feds, and the truth about hismotivations that even the FBI didn’t know.
re-creates all the drama of the FBI’s case against ADM. Eichenwald takes us insidea world of secret recordings, stakeouts, and interviews with suspects and witnesses to the power struggles withinADM and its board—including the high-profile chairman Dwayne Andreas, F. Ross Johnson, and BrianMulroney. Watch as the big-gun Washington lawyers hired by ADM do battle with the Justice Department, FBIDirector Louis Freeh, and Attorney General Janet Reno.
is a page-turning real-life thriller that features deadpan FBI agents, crookedexecutives, idealistic lawyers, and shady witnesses with an addiction to intrigue. And, in addition to reminding usof the malleable nature of truth, Eichenwald demonstrates that while the truth can set you free, “a corollary alsoholds true: Lying can leave you imprisoned—in every possible meaning of that word.”
# # #About the Author:
is the
 New York Times
bestselling author of three non-fiction books. A senior writer andinvestigative reporter with the
 New York Times
for more than two decades, Eichenwald has written about a rangeof topics, including corporate ethics and fraud, economics and corporate finance, healthcare, and Osama binLaden’s financial network.All of his books have been bestsellers. His first,
Serpent on the Rock 
, about the Prudential Securities scandals,was published by Harper Collins. His second book,
The Informant: A True Story
, was published in 2000 byBroadway Books, an imprint of the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, a division of Random House.
The Informant was
a finalist for a J. Anthony Lukas Prize and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Book Award,and was deemed by the New York Times Book Review as “one of the best non-fiction books of the last decade.”The movie version of 
The Informant 
, starring Matt Damon and directed by Stephen Soderbergh, will be releasedin September, 2009.His third book,
Conspiracy of Fools,
covered the Enron debacle and was a finalist for the Los Angeles TimesBook Award. A film version of 
is in pre-production, with Leonardo DiCaprio slated for the lead role.The production company is DiCaprio’s Appian Way.

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rincey_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I would probably give this one 3.5 stars if I could.

I liked this a lot. The story was very engaging, especially since you know it is a true story. And I spent the entire novel wondering whether or not Whitacre was a good guy or not cause I seriously was just waiting for him to flip out or something. haha

I recommend it and I kind of want to see the movie version now.
sigmundfraud reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Worth reading but much too much detailed. I was interested in the story of the ADM execs but not the story of the FBI and DOJ people fighting among themselves to control this case. I was sympathetic to Whitacre and thought it was a rotten deal for the FBI to use him extensively to build their case and then indict him and send him to jail. As a money manager I have followed ADM which piqued my interest but the details are endless.
miro_4 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
[Contains Spoilers] In his afterword, Eichenwald says, "While everything described in this book occurred, the story was intentionally structured to lend temporary credence to some of the many lies told in this investigation. Essentially, I was attempting to put readers in the same uncertain position as the investigators, all the while dropping hints - admittedly subtle at times - about where reality began."The result is very effective as the FBI's star cooperating witness (Mark Whitacre) starts off providing great evidence of international corporate price fixing on tape and film and then proceeds to lose his credibility (and greatly complicate the anti-trust case) by his personal theft from the company of millions of dollars, even while he is cooperating with the FBI. Remarkably, the FBI keep things on track with great professionalism while facing off high level corporate lawyers, political interference and an idiotic witness, although it is finally the admission of guilt by the Asian price fixers that ensures success.An observation after reading the book is that international price fixing could be a lot more widespread than it would at first appear, and that some some politicians are not about to change. Bill Clinton was quick to congratulate "My good friend" Dwayne Andreas, the chairman of ADM, despite his obstruction of the FBI at every turn and his only avoiding jail through a plea bargain.
sublime98 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This is an excellent book. Well written, and actually thrilling. As I find with many books about corporations, names get confusing, and I found myself having to go back to the character index numerous times as the book went on.The unraveling of the entire Archer Daniels Midland case is fascinating. The ultimate ironic ending makes it all the better (or rather, worse, for some of the characters). This book is a perfect display of how hard some people work to find the truth, and how hard others will work to keep it from them, or distort it as much as possible.
dougcornelius_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I’ve had Kurt Eichenwald’s The Informant on my reading list for a long time. It dropped down on the list after seeing the previews for the Steven Soderbergh movie. Why read the book when you can watch the movie?What raised my interest was hearing a great radio segment from This American Life that tells some of the background of the price fixing conspiracy and FBI cooperating witness Mark Whitacre: The Fix is in.I have to admit that while reading the book, I had the image of Matt Damon in my mind as the character of Mark Whitacre. The other image that stands out is the scene in the movie previews with Mr. Damon playing Mr. Whitacre as he is fiddling with the hidden tape recorder in his briefcase. As you can see from the actual video of the meeting, Whitacre really did open open up the hidden compartment and check out the tape recorder.The true story in the book is a crazy tale. Whitacre came forward as a cooperating witness to the FBI, telling them that his company, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), was engaged in price-fixing for the global market for lysine. The allegations quickly spread to other products and to kickbacks. Whitacre was a great witness, eagerly taping conversations of illicit activity and clearly willing to take down his colleagues and management of the company.The story wanders a bit, periodically gets stagnant, then explodes as new secrets are revealed. The author, Kurt Eichenwald, tells the story from the perspective of the FBI. If the story were not true, it could have been streamlined and the characters could have been explored in more depth. But it’s a true story with real people. So you have to let the story evolve as the FBI uncovers more and more of the activity of ADM, and unfortunately more and more of the activity of Whitacre.Whitacre had problems. These problems become apparent and worsen as the story progresses. The perfect witness ends up not being so perfect. Inconsistencies begin to appear and then grow worse.Kurt Eichenwald covered the story for The New York Times and interviewed most of the participants in writing the book. He tells the story by methodically recording the six-year investigation and deconstructing the disturbed Whitacre.Add the book to your reading list and move it towards the top.
literarylinda reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I found this true story very disturbing. It is very sad to think that corporations like these can be so unlawful. However, the book was written like a novel and is very readable.
joshuat6 reviewed this
It is a great, smart comedy. It will be confusing but you'll love it!
clif_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This non-fiction story is more interesting than any fictional crime detective story. I feel compelled to be a bit more enthusiastic than usual about this book to overcome the reaction of potential readers who are not interested in a story about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). That may sound boring. Trust me, it’s not! By the end of the book, you will learn that as of the year 2000 over a billion dollars in fines had been paid worldwide by various food and pharmaceutical companies as a result of the fall-out from this case. Thousands of normally law-abiding people had to be involved over many years for such wide spread price fixing to exist. It took one flawed cooperating witness to expose the crimes to law enforcement. When I use the word “flawed,” this one was a doozy! As multiple layers of lies are peeled back in this story the reader can’t help but wonder just how many more layers can there be? The story is told from the point of view of the FBI as they investigate the case. A small but interesting part of the story is the internal friction between the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors. In this case the FBI appears to be the good guys and the DOJ are a bunch of bumbling idiots. At one point the DOJ appears to be guilty of trying to obstruct justice in response to political pressure. It’s too bad the author wasn’t able to learn the behind-the-scenes reasons for their actions. It was probably a good example of the effect of the generous political contributions made by ADM.A runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, The Informant is a mesmerizing piece of investigative reporting. The foreword to the book says that everything in the book is true including the lies. After finishing the book, I understand the reason for that statement.
ilovemycat1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Incredible story and a true page turner about price fixing and other corporate misdeeds at Archer, Daniels, Midland, a fortune 500 company. Eichenwald does a masterful job to get the reader through the twists and turns of an emotionally complicated and unstable central figure, Mark Whitacre, who becomes the FBI informant and then the target of Justice Dept/FBI probes. Reading Eichenwald's Conspiracy of Fools(the Enron scandal) right before The Informant, and during another decade of corporate greed and misdeeds (mortgage, financial scandals) leaves the reader incredulous and somewhat powerless next to the seemingly systemic and far reaching ability of corporations to skew the landscape and playing field for the rest of us.
grheault_2 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Rarely does a book grab you so firmly in the first few pages. Twisting, turning, amazing reversals that keep you fascinated even if you succumb early on to googling and wiki-ing the real life characters who people this book. Leaves you with a very dim view of the upper echelons of business, and with great sympathy and appreciation for the civil servants who try to maintain a semblance of a fair and free market. Read it to glimpse the psychology of power and greed, and leave it there. As a morality tale you will come away wondering why you are so stupidly honest. A must read for young MBA's and other prospective masters of the universe

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