Two former executives of Siemens have admitted paying six million euros in bribes to win gas turbine contracts for the German engineering firm’s power generation unit. Horst Vigener and Andreas Kley said the cash had been paid to a pair of officials at Italian utility Enel between 1999 and 2002.
Another manager Wolfgang Becker has already been convicted and sentenced to nearly two years in prison by an Italian court. Vigener and Kley’s defence includes the fact that those who were being bribed at Enel were businesspeople and Germany’s bribery law only applies to money paid to state officials.
The trial is separate from a larger bribery scandal at Siemens, which German police are also investigating, involving six current or former company employees of its telecoms division. In that case, Siemens has identified suspicious payments totalling 420 million euros. The company, which is also being investigated by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, said it did not know about and would not tolerate corruption.