Ex-Siemens execs found guilty in bribery case

MUNICH, April 20 Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:16am EDT

MUNICH, April 20 (Reuters) - A Munich court found two former Siemens (SIEGn.DE) managers guilty of breach of trust and abetting bribery for their roles in a corruption scandal that rocked the German engineering group.

Michael Kutschenreuter, former financial head of its telecoms unit and the most senior executive found guilty so far, was placed on probation for two years and fined 160,000 euros ($215,300), ruling judge Joachim Eckert said on Tuesday.

A second defendant, the former head of accounting at Siemens' telecoms unit, was placed on probation for 1-1/2 years and fined 40,000 euros.

Kutschenreuter, who now lives in Dubai, had admitted that he covered up slush funds and bribing practices of his employees.

According to the prosecution, the funds were used to bribe government officials and business contacts to win telecom contracts in Russia and Nigeria.

Siemens has identified around 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in dubious payments that changed hands between 2000 and 2006.

The trial of Kutschenreuter and his alleged accomplices could be the last in the case. Legal experts think the nearly 300 people still under investigation could get summary punishments.

The affair -- the biggest bribery case in German history -- has cost the company around 2.5 billion euros in fines, investigations and back taxes.

In 2008, Siemens agreed to pay $1.3 billion to end corruption probes in the United States and Germany. [ID:nGEE5B1110]

Carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) has also come under investigation for bribing foreign government officials with money and gifts to win contracts.

Last month it agreed to pay $185 million to settle U.S. charges by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. [ID:nN01141120] (Reporting by Jens Hack and Christian Kraemer; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7431 Euro)