MUNICH, Germany U.S. law firm Debevoise & Plimpton which presently screens Siemens financial transactions, has found that the bribery scandal at the German conglomerate is far bigger than previously believed. According to a report from German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, payments of "far more than 1 billion" ($1.37 billion) have probably been spent for bribery.
Former Siemens CEO Klaus Kleinfeld had hired Debevoise & Plimpton past November in order to conduct a comprehensive investigation. The auditors have made significant progress: While hitherto the sum used for bribery was estimated to already breathtaking 420 million, Debevoise & Plimpton experts now found that obviously the telecommunications arm alone spend some 900 million as slush money.
Besides the telecommunications unit, the power plant unit was very generous when it came to spend money for orders. Debevoise & Plimpton lawyers found presumable illicit earnings amounting to 250 to 300 million.
In connection with bribery cases in the energy business, public prosecutors in Germany and Italy already are investigating since two years. They found that Siemens used a widely ramified network of front companies, mostly in Liechtenstein and the United Arab Emirates. In this context, a court in Darmstadt, Germany, had convicted two former Siemens managers in May 2007.
Some payments have been made already in the nineties, the paper writes, adding that some of the felonies might be already barred for prosecution.