Siemens Reportedly Ready to Accept SEC Fine | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.12.2008
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Siemens Reportedly Ready to Accept SEC Fine

Siemens declined comment on a report Saturday, Dec. 13, that it would accept an $800 million penalty from US authorities in connection with a corruption scandal. The company may face similar total fines at home.

A pile of money on a scale

Siemens will reportedly pay about 1 billion euros in fines to realign the scales of justice

The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung quoted an unnamed board member as saying the German engineering giant would approve the payment when the corporate supervisory board meets on Monday in Munich.

A Siemens spokesman confirmed only that investigations by US authorities were near completion.

The company is alleged to have bribed officials approximately 4,000 times to the tune of 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) between 2000 and 2006 in order to win contracts abroad.

It has been under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the Department of Justice because it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Siemens logo on a sign outside the company's headquarters on an overcast day

Clouds have been gathering over Siemens for over a year

US court documents quoted by the German newspaper showed Siemens would pay $800 million to the SEC and the Justice Department, less than originally anticipated. The company would admit to breaking rules regarding controlling and book keeping procedures but not corruption, according to German media reports.

In November, Siemens said it had set aside 1 billion euros for legal settlements related to what has become the biggest bribery scandal in German corporate history.

Possible deal in Germany

The company, whose product range covers the engineering and electronics sector, is also under investigation by German prosecutors, but those investigations may end soon as well, German media reported.

The weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that the company wanted the two inquiries' ends to coincide and the business daily Handelsblatt quoted anonymous sources saying an agreement with Munich prosecutors would be reached "in the next few days."

Neon Christmas decorations

The company hopes to celebrate a corruption-free Christmas

"At the moment, everyone assumes the issue will be settled by Christmas," the Handelsblatt source said.

Welt am Sonntag said the agreement would cost Siemens about 400 million euros, making the 1 billion euros the company put aside for penalties just enough to cover the two bills. The Munich-based company paid a 201 million euro fine last year.

Neither a company spokesman nor the Munich prosecutor's office would comment on the reports citing the ongoing discussions.

In an attempt to get some of the money back from the managers believed to be responsible for company-wide corruption, the current board is considering suing former executives for dereliction of duty, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

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