September 30, 2015 / 2:13 PM / 4 years ago

Ex-Siemens executive pleads guilty in U.S. in Argentine bribery case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Siemens AG executive pleaded guilty on Wednesday in U.S. court to participating in a $100 million scheme to bribe Argentine officials to win a contract to produce national identity cards.

Andres Truppel, a former chief financial officer of Siemens Argentina, entered his plea to one count of conspiracy in federal court in New York, four years after he was indicted by U.S. authorities alongside seven other Siemens executives.

Truppel, 60, told U.S. District Judge Denise Cote he participated in a scheme to secure a $1 billion contract with the Argentine government to produce national identity cards by paying tens of millions of dollars.

“I know this conduct was wrong,” Truppel said in court. “I regret it.”

Truppel, the first of the defendants to appear in court to answer the U.S. charges, voluntarily returned from Argentina, according to a spokesman for Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

Under a plea deal, Truppel, a citizen of Germany and Argentina, agreed to cooperate with authorities. He previously reached an $80,000 settlement in 2014, resolving a related civil case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Siemens in 2008 agreed to pay over $1.3 billion to resolve wide-ranging bribery investigations in the United States and Germany involving the German engineering group.

As part of that deal, Siemens and its subsidiary in Argentina pleaded guilty in the United States to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which bars companies from bribing foreign officials, and paid $449 million in fines.

That plea related to the same $1 billion Argentine contract that became the subject of the December 2013 indictment against the eight Siemens executives.

Siemens won the contract in 1998. Throughout the project, the Siemens executives committed to paying nearly $100 million in bribes to members of the Argentine government and opposition party as well as candidates for office, prosecutors said.

Those executives included Uriel Sharef, who had been a member of Siemens’ managing board and became the first ex-board member of a Fortune Global 50 company to be indicted under the FCPA.

The case is U.S. v. Sharef, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-1056.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Christian Plumb and Tom Brown

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