Apparently, German profs took bribes from grad students who wanted doctorates. This really leaves only two questions: how did the grad students have enough money to rent a prof? And what did the profs charge? I have accepted chocolate chip cookies as gifts after writing letters of recommendation--that is probably the edge of my moral compromises in this area.
And, of course, the next question is: with this academic job market, is bribing a prof so that one can get a doctorate a good investment?
Update: After a closer read, it becomes clear that there is good money to be had for the profs--euro200,000 for one. But that was for 60 students or so over 7 years, or 3333 euros per student. Not too bad, I guess, if you don't have to actually read and advise.