Siemens finance chief testifies in bribery case

Siemens chief financial officer Joe Kaeser has denied knowing about a slush
fund used by the company to conceal bribery payments.

He told Munich Regional Court yesterday that he first heard about the fund
was in an article in a German newspaper.

‘I was shocked that something like this was even thinkable at our company,’
said Kaeser, aged 50.

He is the first executive from Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company
to testify in the trial of Reinhard Siekaczek, former manager of a Siemens unit.

Kaeser, a former senior executive in the telecoms division where a large part
of the bribery is alleged to take place, is not under investigation and has been
cleared so far by an internal probe, so he will give evidence this week.

The case is the first criminal trial in the Munich inquiry which began in
November 2006 and led to investigations in at least 12 countries.

Siemens is co-operating with the prosecutors and found €1.3bn (£1.027bn) of
‘unclear payments’ made from 2000 to 2006.

Siekaczek worked at Siemens’ former ICN unit until 2004 and is charged with
58 counts of breach of trust. He told the court, in an earlier hearing in May,
that he had organised a system of sham contracts to conceal bribes at the
Munich-based company.

The scheme was used to extract €53.3m (£42m) from the company’s regular
accounts from 2002 to 2004, according to prosecutors.

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