Siemens AG gave ex-Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld and other former managers until mid November to declare if they are willing to settle a bribery case or face legal action by Europe's largest engineering company.
The targeted Siemens managers also include Kleinfeld's predecessor, Heinrich von Pierer, as well as former management board members Heinz-Joachim Neubuerger, Uriel Sharef, Juergen Radomski, Johannes Feldmayer and Thomas Ganswindt, the Munich-based company said today. The managers are accused of failing to halt a bribery scandal that has plagued the company since 2006.
The company has had about 2.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in costs related to the bribery scandal for which it claims its former board members are partly responsible. Siemens was investigated in at least 12 nations, including the US, over allegations employees bribed clients to win contracts.
The company found 1.3 billion euros of "unclear payments" made from 2000 to 2006. Siemens settled last month with former board members Klaus Wucherer, Rudi Lamprecht, and Edward Krubasik, who each agreed to pay 500,000 euros.
Siemens' supervisory board is seeking to have the former officials reimburse the company for alleged breaches of "organizational and supervisory duties" that led to the scandal. Kleinfeld, now CEO of Alcoa Inc, and Von Pierer, are being investigated for administrative offenses by Munich prosecutors. Both have denied wrongdoing.
Winfried Seibert, a lawyer for von Pierer, declined to comment because the negotiations are pending.
Von Pierer and Kleinfeld announced their resignations within a week of each other in April 2007 as the bribery scandal unfolded. Von Pierer was Siemens's chief executive officer from 1992 until 2005 when he became chairman. Kleinfeld was at the company for about 18 years before he succeeded von Pierer.