Daimler made $56 million in (bribe) improper payments to foreign officials

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that Daimler AG gained $1.9 billion in revenue and at least $91.4 million in profits from transactions that had been tainted by bribes.

Earlier this week, the SEC filed a suit asserting that Daimler made at least $56 million in improper payments to foreign officials in over 200 transactions.

According to court documents, Daimler intends to enter a $185 million settlement to resolve the claims by the SEC and the Justice Department. The carmaker's Russian and German units also will be pleading guilty to violating U.S. anti-bribery laws.

According to the proposed consent order, Daimler will neither admit nor deny SEC's charges, which claim that the illegal transactions span at least 22 countries in almost a decade.

SEC also claims that these improper payments involved at least 6,300 commercial vehicles and about 500 passenger cars, including luxury sedans given to senior foreign government officials.

The SEC alleges further that the payments were routed to U.S. bank accounts or to foreign bank accounts of shell companies in the United States.

The SEC cited an instance where Daimler sought to enter the Turkmenistan market and it wanted to get this done easily by giving two armored vehicles worth at least 550,000 euros to a senior government official. As a gift, Daimler also paid for a German translation of a book authored by the official.

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