Siemens Exec Gets Suspended Sentence

Reinhard Siekaczek was convicted on 49 counts of breach of trust.

A German court convicted former Siemens director Reinhard Siekaczek of corruption and gave him a two-year suspended sentence July 28 in its first ruling involving an executive at the scandal-hit industrial giant. Siekaczek, 57, was convicted on 49 counts of breach of trust and was ordered to pay 108,000 euros (US$170,000) in fines.

His trial was the first in a long series involving the payment of kickbacks for foreign contracts that has cost several top Siemens directors their posts, including the former chairman and the former supervisory board president.

Siekaczek was charged along with others of setting aside around 53 million euros to be used as bribes in exchange for contracts awarded to the telecommunications division that he headed. In all, Siemens has estimated that 1.3 billion euros were placed in such slush funds between 2000 and 2006. Prosecutors in this southern German city are still investigating around 300 people in connection with the affair. It broke in November 2006, and a probe ordered by the company itself found that similar practices existed within many of its divisions.

Siemens would pursue former directors for damages, a press report said last week. Siemens' supervisory board was expected to launch legal proceedings against 10 former executives who belonged to the group's board between 2003 and 2006, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. They included former Siemens bosses Klaus Kleifeld and Heinrich von Pierer, and former financial director Heinz-Joachim Neubuerger, said the newspaper.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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