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Suspended sentences

April 21, 2010

Two former Siemens managers have been handed suspended sentences and large fines for their roles in a corruption scandal that rocked the German engineering giant in 2006.

Siemens administration building in Munich
The Siemens corruption scandal involves hundreds of suspectsImage: DW

A Munich court on Tuesday found Michael Kutschenreuter, the former financial head of Siemens' telecommunications unit, guilty of breach of trust and abetting bribery.

Kutschenreuter, 55, is the most senior Siemens executive found guilty of corruption so far. He was placed on probation for two years and fined 160,000 euros ($215,300) after admitting that he had covered up slush funds and bribes paid by his employees.

The other defendant, Hans-Werner Hartmann, who was in charge of accounting at the company's telecommunications arm, was placed on probation for 18 months and fined 40,000 euros.

According to prosecutors, the funds were used to bribe government officials and business contacts to win lucrative contracts in Russia and Nigeria.

Siemens has identified around 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in dubious payments that changed hands between 2000 and 2006.

A worker tests mobile phones at a Siemens factory
The latest sentences were linked to wrongdoing at Siemens' telecoms unitImage: AP

Final chapter?

The trial of Kutschenreuter and his alleged accomplices could be the last in the Siemens corruption saga. Legal experts predict that nearly 300 people still under investigation are likely to receive summary punishments.

The affair - the biggest bribery case in German history - has cost Siemens around 2.5 billion euros in fines, investigations and back taxes in Germany and the United States.

Stuttgart-based carmaker Daimler has also come under investigation on both sides of the Atlantic for bribing foreign government officials with money and gifts to win contracts.

Last month it agreed to pay $185 million (137 million euros) to settle US charges brought by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Author: Sam Edmonds
Editor: Kate Bowen