Siemens is a company that has a footprint in many high tech areas, such as energy, healthcare and manufacturing. It’s also a company that has had its share of troubles stemming from allegations of corruption and bribery. And, for a business that has weathered run-ins with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the last five years, news of more bribery allegations is not welcome.
But that is exactly what five current and former Siemens executives are facing: bribery charges. Current Siemens employee Bernd Regendantz and four former executives, Uriel Sharef, Ulrich Bock, Eberhard Reichert and Andres Trupple, have been charged with bribing Argentine officials.
The five men face charges in both Argentina and the United States. The allegations concern a bribery scheme involving a government contract to produce national identity cards for citizens of Argentina. The five individuals were charged with bribery in the U.S. two years ago, but the charges in Argentina are new. Argentine officials have also charged former Siemens executives Luis Rodolfo Schirado, Ernst Michael Brechtel, Ralph Mattias Kleinhempel and Jose Alberto Ares.
Siemens, revamped its compliance program in 2008, after an $800 million settlement ended a massive bribery investigation. Then, in 2011, the SEC and DOJ levied bribery charges – a mix of civil and criminal charges -- against these executives.
Recently, the company has worked to improve its compliance program again, hiring a new chief compliance officer in December of 2013.
These charges represent a global trend toward tougher regulation of bribery and corruption. Countries across the globe have increased efforts to battle corruption, leveling more charges and doling out greater penalties for offenders.
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