Justice Department Announces FCPA Charges Brought Against Former Siemens Executives

Dec 29, 2011   

On December 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") announced that it formally brought charges against eight former executives and agents of Siemens AG. The indictment, found here, charges the defendants with violating various federal laws, including conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA").

According to the DOJ, the defendants sent bribes to officials in the Argentine government in order to secure a coveted contract for the Documento Nacional de Identidad ("DNI Project"), a project to replace the country’s national identity booklets with national identity cards. In addition to the alleged bribes to secure the contract, Siemens AG executives allegedly made further corrupt payments when the DNI Project was suspended and later pursued fraudulent arbitration in Washington D.C. against the Argentine government in an effort to recover profits that the company would have received had the Project not ultimately been terminated. In sum, the DOJ alleges that the conspiracy spanned almost two decades, from 1996 to 2009, and involved the commitment of over $100 million in bribes.

The FCPA makes it a crime for U.S. persons or companies, along with their subsidiaries and agents, to bribe officials of foreign countries in return for some business advantage. As we previously reported, the U.S. government has made it a priority to prosecute individuals and companies for violations of the FCPA, having secured lengthy prison sentences as well as hefty fines for offenders in 2011 alone. The DOJ has emphasized that heightened enforcement efforts aimed at thwarting corrupt payments to foreign officials will continue. This indictment against senior executives of a huge multi-national corporation with worldwide operations showcases the high profile of FCPA enforcement and prosecutions within the DOJ.

For more information about the FCPA or Fuerst Ittleman’s experience in defending against criminal investigations and prosecutions for white collar offenses, please contact us at contact@fidjlaw.com.