Daimler to pay $185 million fine over bribery

In order to resolve civil and criminal charges brought over accusations that the company paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to the governments of at least 22 nations over a 10-year period, Daimler AG will pay a $185 million fine. The deal which is still awaiting final approval by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, will see Daimler paying $93.6 million to the Justice Department, and $91.4 million to the SEC. The company is also in talks to avoid prosecution in China.

The bribes purportedly helped Daimler secure business that was being sought after by American companies, which are prohibited by law from such practices, as was Daimler by virtue of a 1998 treaty signed by Germany. The alleged bribes were paid between 1998 and 2008, and include payments made through a U.S. shell company.

According to Detroit News, “The head of sales and marketing for Daimler’s China units “was able to remove at least approximately €230,000 from a company … account without detection, and then direct those funds to the offshore bank account of his wife.”

The investigation spanned 75 countries, and hundreds of interviews, including 30 closely examined individuals. A person close to the matter said that Daimler has spent tens of millions of dollars on legal, accounting, and consulting specialists.

Daimler revealed that in 2006 an undisclosed number of executives were either disciplined or fired as a result of these actions, and that “˜improper payments” had in fact been made in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Detroit News