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A Quagmire Of Corruption

Remember when Siemens talked hopefully about a quick resolution of its global corruption scandal? Clean house, deal with regulators and prosecutors, turn the page and move forward. Well, forget quick. It's not going to happen. Every day, it seems, there's more bad news. The latest is reported in the Wall Street Journal's law blog:

Markus Balser, a WSJ intern, filed this dispatch with the Law Blog:

Last week, a German court rendered the first judgment in the ongoing bribes-for-business investigation at Siemens. Now, the case is entering a new phase. The Greek telephone company OTE has become the first foreign business partner to take legal action against Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company, over slush funds the company operated to land orders abroad. Here’s a report.

OTE’s lawyers filed suit in a Munich court at the end of last week. The Athens-based company asked the court to order Siemens to reveal details of an internal inquiry into its activities in Greece. OTE wants to prove that the contract awarded to Siemens’ Greek branch in 1997 was secured through bribes. That contract was worth about U.S. $1.6 billion.

A Siemens spokesman declined to comment.

The OTE suit could be the first in a series of claims for damages filed by foreign business partners of Siemens. Last October, a Munich court fined Siemens €200 million for bribes paid in Russia, Nigeria and Libya. More than ten countries, including the US, are investigating Siemens. The conglomerate has acknowledged that €1.3 billion were funneled into suspicious transactions between 2000 and 2006.

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