As disclosed in SEC filings, public prosecutors and other government authorities in jurisdictions around the world were conducting investigations of Siemens Aktiengesellschaft (Siemens) and certain of its employees regarding allegations of public corruption, including criminal breaches of fiduciary duty including embezzlement, as well as bribery, money laundering and tax evasion, among others. The investigations involved allegations of corruption at a number of Siemens’ business units.
The DOJ began conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations of U.S. law by Siemens in connection with the matters described above and other allegations of corruption. Siemens was also advised that the SEC enforcement division had converted an informal inquiry into these matters into a formal investigation. The company cooperated with these investigations.
On December 15, 2008, Siemens announced that legal proceedings against it arising from allegations of bribing public officials were concluded on the same day in Munich, Germany, and in Washington, DC.
In Washington, DC, Siemens pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges of knowingly circumventing and failing to maintain adequate internal controls and failing to comply with the books and records provisions of the FCPA. In related cases, three Siemens foreign subsidiaries, Siemens S.A. (Argentina), Siemens Bangladesh Ltd. and Siemens S.A. (Venezuela), pleaded guilty to individual counts of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. In connection with these pleas, Siemens and the three subsidiaries agreed to pay a fine of US$450 million to resolve the charges of the DOJ. At the same time, Siemens settled a civil action against it brought by the SEC for violations of the FCPA. Without admitting or denying the allegations of the SEC complaint, Siemens agreed to the entry of a court judgment permanently restraining and enjoining Siemens from violations of the FCPA and to the disgorgement of profits in the amount of US$350 million.
The agreement reflects the U.S. prosecutors’ express recognition of Siemens’ extraordinary cooperation as well as Siemens’ new and comprehensive compliance program and extensive remediation efforts.