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January 1, 2009
It's a Small World After All (Siemens' Bribes)
TS 9 brings to my attention to interesting and linked stories. First, German company Siemens got caught bribing overseas officials to garner business for the company. The New York Times reports of the huge fine levied on Siemens:
Siemens, the German engineering giant, agreed Monday to pay a record total of $1.6 billion to American and European authorities to settle charges that it routinely used bribes and slush funds to secure huge public works contracts around the world...
...Officials at the Justice Department and at the S.E.C., which also investigated the case, said that some Siemens agents in the United States participated in the schemes. But most of the transactions were in foreign countries. Company employees created off-the-books slush funds, used middlemen posing as consultants and delivered suitcases filled with cash to bribe foreign officials. [Emphasis supplied.]
Linda Chatman Thomsen, the head of the S.E.C.ʼs enforcement division, said that the company paid an estimated $1.4 billion in bribes to government officials in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
And, the Times-Picayune reports this of one of the recipients of a Siemens bribe:
One of four wives of a Nigerian politician who is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Department's corruption case against Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, is herself accused by a federal regulatory agency of receiving $2.8 million in bribes from a German company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Siemens AG of Munich has agreed to pay an $800 million fine for making 4,283 bribe payments totaling $1.4 billion to various government officials across the globe between 2001 and 2007. About $2.8 million was paid through a bank account in Potomac, Md., in the name of the wife of a former Nigerian vice president to assist four telecommunications projects that Siemens was pursuing in Nigeria, the SEC said.
The wife isn't named, but the SEC descriptions match biographical information for Jennifer Douglas Abubakar, who is married to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar...