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When Is It Legal to Lie in Negotiations?

If you're negotiating to sell your business and you lie about its debts, that's illegal, right? But what if you begin negotiations with everything squarely on the table? The new quarterly reports come in and they're not as rosy as the previous ones. You don't disclose them to the prospective buyer. Illegal or just unethical? Surprisingly, as this article reports, business negotiations law is increasingly infused with ethical considerations. Shell outlines the basic elements of legal fraud, illustrating the evolving concepts with numerous cases in which negotiators have been penalized for what some consider merely unethical behavior. He argues that when entering into negotiations, your conscience may be your best guide.

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