Siemens in $1.4B corruption settlements

German electronics company settles with SEC after charged with engaging in bribery.

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By David Goldman, staff writer

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NEW YORK ( -- Electronic equipment maker Siemens AG has agreed to pay $1.4 billion Monday to U.S. and German authorities after the company allegedly engaged in bribery, the SEC said in a release.

According to the SEC, the Munich-based company will pay a $350 million fine to the commission to pay back the money it wrongfully obtained after bribing several institutions and providing kickbacks to get construction jobs. The company will also pay $450 million to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle criminal charges and $569 million to the Office of the Prosecutor General in Munich.

The SEC alleged that Siemens paid bribes and kickbacks to organizations around the world between 2001 and 2007. The SEC said the bribes were paid to obtain licenses to design and construct the metro transit lines in Venezuela, and build power plans in Israel and refineries in Mexico.

"Siemens paid staggering amounts of money to circumvent the rules and gain business," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox in a statement. "Now, they will pay for it with the largest settlement in the history of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act since it became law in 1977."

The act prohibits American companies from bribing foreign government officials.

According to the SEC, the company also used bribes to develop mobile telephone networks in Bangladesh, develop national identity cards in Argentina and medical devices in Vietnam, China and Russia.

Siemens (SI) allegedly used kickback schemes to sell power stations and equipment to Iraq under the United Nations' Oil for Food Program. In all, the company engaged in more than $1.4 billion in bribes, earning more than $1.1 billion on its illegal transactions.

"We regret what happened in the past," Siemens CEO Peter Löscher said in a statement. "But we have learned from it and taken appropriate measures. Siemens is now a stronger company."  To top of page

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