German court finds former Siemens officials guilty of bribery

German court finds former Siemens officials guilty of bribery

[JURIST] The German state court in Darmstadt convicted two former Siemens AG [corporate website] officials on Monday of bribing and assisting in the bribery of two managers at Enel [corporate website], Italy's largest utilities company. Andreas Kley, a former finance chief, and Horst Vigener, a former employee-consultant, admitted that they provided up to $7.9 million dollars to secure winning gas turbine contracts for Siemens between 1999 and 2002. Kley and Vigener each received suspended sentences. Both men had said they acted independently of Siemens and that the Italian managers initiated the bribery scheme, but the court ordered Siemens to forfeit $51.5 million in profits from deals with Enel. Siemens said that Monday that the court's decision has "no basis in law or in fact" and that it will appeal the ruling [statement].

In January, German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries [official profile, in German] announced plans to introduce legislation tightening anti-corruption laws [JURIST report] to increase public prosecutors' power to investigate corruption of a broader range of implicated employees. The announcement came in the midst of a series of high-profile corruption scandals involving large German corporations, including Siemens. AP has more.