Siemans agrees record settlement over international bribery scheme

17 December 2008

Technology manufacturer Siemens has agreed an $800 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over charges that it engaged in "systematic" bribery of foreign government officials in order to win business.

Announcing the deal, the SEC said the company had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by using an elaborate series of payments to conceal $1.4 billion worth of bribes paid to officials as far afield as Venezuela, Bangladesh, China, Iraq and Russia.

These bribes were used to secure business ranging from setting up mobile phone networks to the development of medical devices, identity card schemes and the design and construction of new transit systems.

Siemans earned around $1.1 billion from the projects, the SEC said.

Under the terms of the settlement - the biggest ever agreed in the history of the FCPA - the company will pay $350 million to settle the SEC's charges, as well as a $450 million fine to settle criminal charges brought by the US Department of Justice.

SEC chairman Christopher Cox said: "Siemans paid staggering amounts of money to circumvent the rules and gain business."

Siemens was founded in Berlin in 1847.

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