German engineering giant Siemens AG said yesterday that it will extend its employee-amnesty program for another month until the end of February. The extension is no surprise. In mid-January this year, Siemens’ counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton, said that “[s]ince November 28, 2007, we have obtained significant new information and developed very substantial leads from participants in Siemens’ amnesty program, as well as other sources, regarding topics relevant to our investigation.” The company’s latest announcement said it is still pursuing the new leads.
Siemens’ official statement provided these further details: “To date, 66 employees have come forward in connection with the amnesty program. In addition, a large number of employees are currently receiving information about the program. 54 cases are now under review. So far, 2 applications for amnesty have been rejected and 10 granted. ‘The amnesty program has been very successful. We’re pleased that so many employees have made use of the program and are thereby expediting clarification,’ said Peter Y. Solmssen, member of the Managing Board and General Counsel of Siemens AG.”
In October 2007, Siemens settled global corruption charges with Munich prosecutors for €201 million. The settlement was based on questionable payments of €420 million. But since then the company has identified €1.3 billion in potentially illegal payments to public officials around the world. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are investigating whether Siemens violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company is also facing possible charges of public corruption in Italy, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Greece and Norway.
Before the amnesty was announced in November 2007, Siemens’ internal investigation reportedly had stalled because of stonewalling by managers in various countries. The amnesty — which covers information about Siemens’ involvement in public corruption — protects employees against claims for damages or unilateral termination of their employment. But Siemens reserves the right to impose lesser workplace discipline. The company has not said why it rejected some applications for amnesty or how it intends to deal with employees whose applications are rejected.
View Siemens’ January 31, 2008 News Release Here.