Greece files Munich suit for Siemens kickbacks disclosure

Other News Materials 2 August 2008 20:16 (UTC +04:00)

Greek phone company OTE has filed suit in Munich, Germany demanding that the Siemens group disclose how it bribed Greek executives to buy overpriced telephone equipment, according to a news report Saturday, the dpa reported.

The move could be a preliminary to the first lawsuit by a non-German business client demanding compensation for abuse of the contract process, the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

Siemens has disclosed that 1.3 billion euros (2.1 billion dollars) vanished into slush funds, apparently to corrupt executives at customer companies in Greece, Italy and other nations.

The German electronics and engineering group has purged its management and is seeking to avoid US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fines over the mis-use of corporate revenues.

OTE was now pressing Munich-based Siemens to reveal to it what internal inquiries had uncovered, the newspaper said.

In another Saturday report, the news weekly Der Spiegel said a law firm hired by Siemens to sue 11 former executives for failing to uncover and halt the scandal had already conducted a detailed inquiry.

The lawyers maintained that internal checks to prevent corruption had been "objectively faulty" as early as 2001, Spiegel said.

Sueddeutsche said OTE would seek compensation over a letter of intent dating from 1997 which led to OTE buying equipment worth 1 billion euros from Siemens to improve Greek phone systems.

The newspaper said documents showed at least 75 million euros of Siemens money had been spent on bribing people connected to OTE.