Siemens Reaches Settlement with Greece over Bribery Scandal

March 8, 2012
Greek government last year demanded compensation from the German firm, which has admitted keeping a slush fund to obtain foreign contracts.

German electronics giant Siemens and Greece have reached a 270-million-euro (US$357 million) deal to end a decade-old bribery scandal, the finance ministry said Thursday.

Siemens will hand over 90 million euros to the Greek government to help it fight corruption and 80 million euros to help it pay off debts.

In addition, the German group will "invest 100 million euros in Greece in 2012", and will "examine the possibility of setting up a 60 million euro production plant" in the country, the ministry said.

Siemens also "apologizes to the Greek people, parliament and government" and will take measures to fight corruption in its Greek branch, the ministry added.

The Greek government last year demanded compensation from the German giant which has admitted keeping a slush fund to obtain foreign contracts.

While the deal, agreed to by the cabinet, settles the question of "administrative fines," it does not close the door to judicial prosecution.

The deal must still be ratified by parliament, the finance ministry said in a statement.

A Greek parliamentary committee has determined that inflated contract prices cost the country more than two billion euros during the 1990s.

Part of that money is believed to have ended up in the pockets of some senior Greek officials who helped broker the contracts.

The parliamentary committee set up to investigate the Siemens scandal last year implicated 15 ministers or former ministers from the main two parties, Pasok and New Democracy, which have alternated in power for the past three decades.

Two former Pasok officials -- a former party strategist and aide to ex-PM Costas Simitis and a former minister -- have admitted taking money from Siemens over a decade ago.

But because of a law setting a short statute of limitations for ministers, only former socialist minister Tassos Mantelis was charged, and has yet to be tried over the case.

Three local Siemens officials wanted by Greek justice were also able to flee the country.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

See Also:

Siemens Says Debt Crisis Hurt Profits in First Quarter

Siemens Makes Acquisition in Smart Grid Sector

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