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Former Siemens executive sentenced for bribery scandal
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09:12, July 29, 2008

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Reinhard Siekaczek, a former Siemens executive, was sentenced Monday to two-year jail on probation and fined 108,000 euros (around 170,000 U.S. dollars) for his role in a bribery scandal of the industrial giant.

A court in Munich made the verdict against Siekaczek, making him the first former executive to receive a sentence in the sensational bribery scandal, which involved a huge amount of 1.3 billion euros.

Siekaczek was convicted of 49 counts of being a party to misappropriation of corporate funds.

During his trial, Siekaczek acknowledged setting up slush funds and front companies to pay "consultancy" fees while serving as a manager at Siemens' ICN division, which builds fixed-line telephone exchanges.

"The court has absolutely no doubts about the events," presiding Judge Peter Noll said in reading the court's decision.

The case of the defendant and others revealed that some Siemens divisions were using kickbacks to officials and purchasing executives in Greece, Italy and other nations to win major contracts.

Slush funds hidden in the Siemens accounts were used as a conduit for paying "consultancy" fees to corrupt foreign officials.

In reality, the recipients did not provide any consulting time to the front companies, but simply influenced buying decisions to favor Siemens.

However, the defendant was not charged with paying the actual bribes.

Siemens has been preparing for its executives to be dragged through the courts since admitting it had found evidence of significant kickbacks in a total of six divisions in January.

Speaking to the press, Anton Winkler, a spokesman for Munich prosecutors, said that Siekaczek was "only a cog in the system" and that charges were being prepared in two more cases. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.6353 euro)


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