Ex-Siemens manager charged in bribery case
BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Tuesday they have filed charges against a former member of Siemens AG's board over millions of dollars in alleged bribe payments in Argentina.
Munich prosecutors said the former manager is charged with three counts of breach of trust. They didn't identify him but said he belonged to the management board from 2000 to 2007.
Prosecutors said that, in the 1990s, Siemens subsidiaries secured a contract for a project to produce Argentine identity cards after entering into bribe deals with local officials, for which sham contracts were drawn up.
They said that after a later government canceled the project in 2001, some of the officials insisted on being paid at least $27 million anyway — and that the ex-manager ordered that at least part of that money be paid out from a slush fund.
At least $9.5 million was paid to various sham companies in 2003, and the slush fund was replenished over the next two years with some €6.2 million ($8.9 million) of Siemens money, prosecutors said.
In November 2003, the former manager met with a middle-man for the Argentine officials and agreed to further payments of $4.7 million, prosecutors said.
The case is part of a wider corruption scandal which has cost Siemens more than $1 billion in fines in Germany and the United States.
Siemens has supported efforts to investigate the scandal over recent years. The company had no comment about Tuesday's announcement, saying that it doesn't comment on proceedings that are in progress.
Another former board member, Thomas Ganswindt — the former head of Siemens' communications business — went on trial in Munich earlier this year.
However, charges that he breached his supervisory obligations were dropped in exchange for a €175,000 fine in May.