BERLIN (AP) — A former executive at German truck and machinery maker MAN SE was convicted of bribery Monday for paying millions of euros (dollars) to secure a contract in Kazakhstan.
Heinz Juergen Maus, the former head of the MAN Turbo AG unit, was given a two-year suspended sentence and will have to pay a euro100,000 fine.
Maus acknowledged during his trial at the Munich state court that he ordered the payment of euro9 million ($11.1 million) to secure a gas pipeline modernization contract in Kazakhstan in 2004.
He said he thought at the time that he was acting in the interests of his company — but "now I realize that it was wrong."
Maus told the court that the head of the Kazakh partner in the deal, MunayGaz, had made "blatantly and unmistakably clear" that it would have to pay a "market entry fee" to secure the deal, and had negotiated it down from an initial demand of euro12 million.
Presiding Judge Joachim Eckert said the defendant "admitted without ifs and buts" to the accusations against him, the German news agency DAPD reported.
He added that Maus didn't try to pass off the blame on lower-ranking officials and didn't personally profit from the deal — but nevertheless committed a crime.
After consulting with prosecutors and the defense, Eckert already had indicated last week that Maus' confession would be rewarded with a mild sentence.
Maus, 66, retired in 2007. His company has declined to comment on the charges against him, noting that he is no longer an employee.
In a separate case, prosecutors last year launched an investigation of bribes allegedly paid to boost truck and bus sales at parent company MAN.