MANHATTAN (CN) – The SEC today charged seven former Siemens executives with paying more than $100 million in bribes to two former Argentine presidents and former cabinet ministers so that Siemens could keep that government’s $1 billion contract to produce national identity cards.
Siemens paid $1.6 billion in 2008 to resolve charges against the company, filed by the SEC, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Prosecutor General in Munich.
The seven Siemens officials “falsified documents, including invoices and sham consulting contracts, and participated in meetings in the United States to negotiate the terms of bribe payments,” the SEC said in announcing the lawsuits. “They used U.S. bank accounts to pay some of the bribes.”
The Department of Justice announced parallel criminal charges today.
The bribery allegedly lasted from 1996 to 2007.
“Initially, the bribes were paid to secure a $1 billion contract to produce national identity cards known as Documentos Nacionales de Identidad (DNI) for every Argentine citizen,” the SEC said in its statement. “After a change in Argentine political administrations resulted in the DNI contract being suspended and then canceled, Siemens paid additional bribes in a failed effort to revive the DNI contract. When the company later instituted an arbitration proceeding to recover its costs and expected profits from the canceled contract, Siemens paid additional bribes to suppress evidence that the contract originally had been obtained through corruption.”
Here are the defendants:
Uriel Sharef, a board member at Siemens from 2000 through 2007, he allegedly agreed to pay $27 million in bribes to Argentine officials.
Ulrich Bock, former commercial head of major projects for Siemens Business Services, he allegedly authorized bribes.
Stephan Singer, who replaced Bock and later became head of Business Operations and Finance at Siemens IT Solutions and Services, is accused of authorizing bribe payments.
Herbert Steffen, CEO of Siemens Argentina from 2983 to 2989 and again in 1991, and group president of Siemens Transportation Systems from 1996 to 2003, he was recruited by Sharef and met with the Argentine officials and offered them bribes from Siemens, according to the SEC.
Andres Truppel, CFO of Siemens Argentina from 1996 to 2002, he allegedly participated in U.S. meetings where the bribes were negotiated and communicated with Argentine officials about the bribes.
Carlos Sergi, a former member of the board of Siemens Argentina and a consultant for it, he allegedly served as a “payment intermediary,” or bag man.
Bernd Regendantz, CFO of Siemens Business Services from 2002 to 2004, he allegedly authorized two bribe payments totaling $10 million.