- Title: USA: U.S. federal judge approves settlement in Daimler bribery case
- Date: 2nd April 2010
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (APRIL 1, 2010) (REUTERS) HAN TJAN, DAIMLER HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, NORTH AMERICA, WALKING FROM U.S. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE
- Embargoed: 17th April 2010 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Legal System
- Reuters ID: LVAACCCNY5D4LY166VKL58WS5WJW
- Story Text: A U.S. judge approved Daimler AG's settlement of allegations that the luxury car and truck maker violated federal anti-bribery laws by showering foreign government officials with money and gifts to win contracts on Thursday (April 1) .
Daimler has agreed to pay $185 million (USD) to settle charges by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, but will remain subject to a two-year deferred prosecution agreement and oversight by an independent monitor. Daimler's German and Russian units each agreed to plead guilty to two counts of violating U.S. anti-bribery laws. Its China subsidiary will be subject to the two-year deferred prosecution agreement as well. Additionally, former FBI Director Louis Freeh will serve as an independent monitor to oversee the company's compliance with anti-bribery laws.
Speaking outside of the U.S. federal courthouse in Washington Thursday, Daimler's head of corporate communications in North America said the company was pleased with the settlement.
"Daimler is very pleased to have reached a settlement with United States Department of Justice and the SEC, and we will continue to do our utmost to maintain the high levels of standards in our compliance efforts within Daimler. And we're pleased this is over. We've closed a chapter, and we're all looking confidently forward and we have in place a very strong compliance system at Daimler," Han Tjan said.
He declined to comment about how the bribery allegations could affect Daimler's brand.
"No. We have no further things, and as I said, we're very pleased that we have reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in the U.S. and with the SEC," Tjan said.
The settlement is the latest example of a widening crackdown by the U.S. government on alleged violators of U.S. anti-bribery laws and represents one of the most wide-ranging cases brought so far against a foreign corporation.
Judge Richard Leon approved the plea agreement and settlement called it a "just resolution" and said that the company was taking the right steps to solve the problems of the past.
In the SEC case, Daimler was accused of making some $56 million (USD) in bribes related to more than 200 transactions in 22 countries that earned the company $1.9 billion (USD) in revenue and at least $91.4 million (USD) in allegedly illegal profits.
The alleged bribes also included luxury European vacations, armored Mercedes vehicles for high-ranking government officials and a birthday gift to a senior Turkmenistan official including a golden box and 10,000 copies of the official's personal manifesto translated into German.
Further, Daimler was accused of violating the terms of the U.N. Oil for Food Program with Iraq by including kickbacks 10 percent of the contract values to the Iraqi government. The SEC said the company earned more than $4 million (USD) from the sale of vehicles and spare parts.
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