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December 18, 2008

Say it ain't so, Europe.

It's ironic, perhaps, but Europe may also "lag behind" America in bribery prosecutions. In yesterday's The Economist, read "The Siemens Scandal: Bavarian Baksheesh":

When Siemens, Europe’s biggest engineering firm, adopted the slogan “be inspired” in the mid-1990s, bribery was not what it had in mind. But no one can accuse its managers of lacking inspiration when it came to devising novel ways to funnel huge sums in backhanders to corrupt officials and politicians across the globe.


On Monday December 15th Siemens pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and corruption and agreed to pay fines of $800m in America and €395m ($555m) in Germany, in addition to an earlier fine of €201m.

There is something almost touching about the candour and trust with which Siemens went about a very dirty business. Take the three “cash desks” it set up in its offices, to which employees could bring empty suitcases to be filled with cash. As much as a €1m ($1.4m) could be withdrawn at a time to win contracts for its telecoms-equipment division, according to America’s Department of Justice. [more]

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Europe could learn a thing or two about law enforcement from America. Above: Citizen Thompson on duty.

Photo: Anita Bejmuk

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at December 18, 2008 05:19 PM

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