Siemens pleads guilty to bribery-related charges

Company to pay $1.6B in fines

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Siemens Argentina made about $3.3 million in corrupt payments to Argentine officials between March 2001, when Siemens AG was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and 2007, the agencies said.

Siemens Venezuela made about $18.8 million in bribery payments to Venezuelan officials between November 2001 and May 2007, the agencies said. The payments were for favorable business treatment in major mass transit projects, the DOJ and SEC said.

Siemens Bangladesh made bribery payments of about $5.3 million to officials in that country between May 2001 and August 2006, the agencies said. The payments were connected to a mobile telephone project.

"Today's filings make clear that for much of its operations across the globe, bribery was nothing less than standard operating procedure for Siemens," Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich, said in a statement. "It should be equally clear that Siemens has undertaken significant remedial measures, instituted real reforms and cooperated from the inception of this investigation."

Siemens AG and its audit committee disclosed potential violations to law enforcement officials, the agencies said.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Siemens AG has agreed to retain an independent compliance officer for four years. The compliance officer will make reports to the DOJ.

Also today, Siemens AG agreed to a disposition resolving an investigation by the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office of the company's operating groups other than its telecommunications group. The charges were based on corporate failure to supervise its officers and employees, and in connection with those charges Siemens agreed to pay €395 million (approximately $569 million U.S.) including a €250,000 corporate fine and €394.8 million in disgorgement of profits.

In October 2007, the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office announced a settlement with Siemens AG under which the company agreed to pay €201 million (approximately $287 million U.S.), including a €1 million fine and €200 million in disgorgement of profits. The October plea was related to bribery charges in Siemens' telecommunications group.

In connection with the cases brought by the DOJ, the SEC and the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office, Siemens AG will pay a combined total of more than $1.6 billion in fines.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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