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Greece indicts 64 for Siemens bribes

Greek authorities said Monday they indicted 64 people for bribery involving Siemens AG from 1992 to 2006 related to communications company Hellenic Telecommunications (OTE).

An investigation found that Greece lost about $75 million from equipment sales by Siemens to OTE.

OTE was state-owned when the alleged bribes were paid.

The Wall Street Journal said, “A panel of judges decided that those indicted, including both Greek and German nationals, should stand trial for bribery or money laundering. The list of suspects includes former Siemens and OTE officials, while two of the main suspects have left Greece.”

Siemens settled FCPA offenses with the DOJ and SEC in 2008 by paying $800 million. The settlement is still the biggest FCPA enforcement action.

In 2012, Siemens agreed to pay $336 million to the Greek Ministry of Justice to resolve bribery allegations related to OTE.

Siemens has said it will cooperate with Greek authorities in connection with the recent indictments.

The SEC said in its 2008 civil complaint that a Siemens manager admitted in March 2006 that the company paid about $40 million in “bonus payments” to Greek government officials. The SEC said the payments were bribes. A copy of the SEC’s complaint is here (pdf).

In the DOJ’s 2008 criminal information (charging document) against Siemens, prosecutors said:

In or about March 2006, in the course of a compliance investigation, a Siemens Greece COM manager admitted to the Corporate Compliance Office and Internal Audit that he had received substantial funds to make “bonus payments” to managers at the Greek national telephone company, OTE. Neither the Siemens ZV nor the Corporate Compliance Office undertook a comprehensive investigation aimed at discovering the full extent of corruption in Greece or in the COM business more broadly

A copy of the DOJ’s criminal information is here (pdf).

The same language appeared in the DOJ’s Statement of Offense that Siemens accepted as part of its FCPA plea deal. It was filed with the federal district court in Washington, D.C. on December 15, 2008 (available here in pdf).

The Greek court hasn’t set a trial date.

Siemens’ offices in Athens and Germany didn’t comment to the WSJ Monday.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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