Chinese officials involved in Daimler bribery case

07:34, March 26, 2010      

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Daimler was charged by the US government of offering bribes worth tens of millions of dollars to foreign government officials in at least 22 countries, for contracts between 1998 and 2008.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), China's largest oil refiner, is also involved in the case.

The kickbacks of cash and gifts of luxury armored cars, golf clubs and vacations helped secure government contracts from countries including China, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Cote d'Ivoire, Latvia, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

According to the file released by the court, during 2001 to 2005, Daimler Chrysler paid at least 4.1 million euros (37.31 million yuan) in "commissions," "gifts" and lavish vacation to Chinese government officials and in return the car company received contracts worth 112 million euros from Chinese firms.

Many of these payments were made through "third-party accounts" that were supervised by the most senior management of Daimler's sales operations. The file showed that Daimler and Daimler Chrysler China had a bank account named "special commission" with an account number that ended with "819". The money in this account was used to bribe Chinese officials.

The file also showed that during 2001 to 2004, Daimler and Daimler Chrysler China employees offered graft of at least 188,800 euros through the "third-party account" to obtain contracts worth 5.53 million euros.

On February 28, 2002, Daimler offered 18,000 euros in bribes through Texas-based firm Shores International to the wife of a Chinese government official as commission. The money was used in a transaction involving a car worth 1.01 million euros to Sinopec.

Almost a year later on February 21, 2003, Texas-based company Lily Energy Service gave 15,000 euros to Changqing Petroleum Exploration Bureau to sell six trucks worth 492,000 euros each.

Also, the file claimed that Daimler gave about 2.6 million euros to Chinese government officials to ensure receiving contracts worth 71.56 million euros from Sinopec and BGP. The money was given to senior managers of Sinopec and BGP as well as their families.

Daimler admitted previously that it made hundreds of improper payments, but said that the company would cooperate with the investigation.

Sources disclosed that Daimler has reached an agreement with the US government to pay $185 million in fines to end the long-running investigation.

Source: Global Times

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