- Title: GERMANY / FILE: Siemens allegedly involved in bribery in Nigeria
- Date: 29th November 2006
- Summary: (AD1)POTSDAM, GERMANY (RECENT - NOVEMBER 23, 2006)(REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE)(German) HANSJOERG ELSHORST, CHAIRMAN OF TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL GERMANY, SAYING: "Siemens is a large company, and it is understandable if they need time to implement a new strategy, but there are no excuses for corruption of this scale. It is a scale in which one would have to presume that regulatory measures and controls which have exist where not implemented probably."
- Embargoed: 14th December 2006 12:00
- Reuters ID: LVA733I9QNXBDG6TOQ7QC5NMO631
- Story Text: German prosecutors are investigating the German industrial company Siemens, amidst allegations that employees were involved in setting up secret bank accounts abroad for paying bribes.
Last week, the Munich state prosecutor said it was probing the disappearance of about 200 million euros ($257 million) from Siemens' accounts.
"Siemens is a large company, and it is understandable if they need time to implement a new strategy, but there are no excuses for corruption of this scale. It is a scale in which one would have to presume that regulatory measures and controls which have exist where not implemented probably," said Hansjoerg Elshorst, chairman of Transparency International's branch in Germany.
During raids, investigators seized between 200 and 300 files with documents relating to current business and about 36,000 more files from their archives.
State prosecutors have detained six people in connection with the matter and were questioning them in Munich's State Prosecutor Office about their possible involvement in the affair.
"Corruption is still an old problem and not a new one, even in Germany, only we closed our eyes to it for years. And today associations and companies are still closing their eyes to this ubiquitous problem. Research shows that today companies still say 'that's the others problem, not ours'. In economic circles they are reckoning on a continued increase in corruption and economic crime, but they aren't trying to prevent corruption, not even in their own ranks," said Wolfgang Schaupensteiner, the State Prosecutor for Frankfurt.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper linked some of the bribes to the regime of the late Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha. It reports that 5 million euros was given to high ranking officials in Nigeria through bank accounts in Austria.
General Abacha ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. In that time he and his aides are believed to have skimmed anywhere from 2 billion to 7 billion US dollars from public coffers.
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