Israel Fines Siemens $42m for Bribe-for Contract Scam

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AS successive Nigerian governments continued to play the Ostrich in the bribe-for-contract Siemens scandal in which top politicians and military top cats were indicted, the Israeli government has imposed a hefty fine on Siemens, the German telecoms giant for similar bribery scam.

Siemens was involved in bribery heist in Nigeria in which two former ministers, a former top shot of the Power Holding Company, and seven others were allegedly indicted over a controversial 17.5million euro  bribe.

The other suspects who partook in the bribe were mostly ex-officials of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). One of the ex-ministers served during the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was in charge of the Ministry of Communications. The Siemens officials had admitted bribing some Nigerians and they had since been convicted by German court and sanctioned imposed on the company but nothing has happened to Nigerians named in the bribery scam.

Siemens AG has agreed to pay the Israeli government about $42 million as a penalty for bribing officials at state-owned Israel Electric Corporation to win a contract to supply turbines fifteen years ago.

The Tel Aviv District Attorney also filed indictments for bribery and money laundering against six IEC officials.

Globes Publishing in Israel identified them Monday as former senior deputy director general David Cohn, former senior deputy CEO Jacob Hain, former engineering and planning department deputy director Haim Bar-Ner, planning and development department deputy director David Elmakis, former engineering and planning department director Yona Sweater, and former planning department departmental head Zvi Eyal.

“They are suspected of taking bribes amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars that were transferred to accounts in Swiss banks or smuggled abroad in cash in suitcases,” Globes said.

In late 2014, police in Israel detained six current and former executives from IEC. But a court-imposed gag order limited reporting of the case.

The prosecutions in Israel are related to Siemens’ $800 million FCPA enforcement action in 2008.

Siemens admitted in the FCPA case that it paid $20 million in bribes from 1999 to 2001 to win an IEC contract worth $786 million.

In June 2014, police in Israel made four arrests in the case, including former Siemens Israel CEO Oren Aharonson. He cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for immunity. After prosecutors discovered new evidence, he was re-indicted.

Aharonson was first charged with bribing former Tel Aviv district court judge Dan Cohen, who served as an IEC director. Cohen confessed to taking $1.36 million in bribes and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced in 2013 to six years in prison.

In the settlement reported this week, Siemens agreed to appoint an “external inspector” to supervise the company’s activities in Israel, Globes Publishing said. – Political Economist

— May 4, 2016 @ 9:30 GMT

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