Bangladesh to probe Siemens bribery

Bangladesh's anti-corruption authorities have launched an investigation into alleged bribery by Siemens Bangladesh, a subsidiary of German corporate giant Siemens AG, a newspaper reported Friday.

"We have started gathering information from local and global sources on the alleged bribery," Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, told the New Age newspaper.

Siemens Bangladesh agreed earlier to pay a 500,000-dollar fine to the United States to help settle a global bribery case, reported dpa.

The fine is part of a 1.3 billion-dollar fine that Siemens AG agreed to pay to the US and German governments.

Siemens has admitted it spent more than 5.3 million dollars to win a 40.8-million-dollar mobile phone infrastructure development project of the state-owned Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board.

Although documents detail the amounts Siemens paid on different occasions between May 2001 and August 2006, the names of the recipients were not disclosed, an official at the anti-graft body said.

Mashhud said he hoped that he would be able to trace the people who had received money from Siemens.

He said the bribe money might have gone to government officials through mediators or paid to relatives of high-ranking government officials.

"We hope an investigation will help make it clear who are the bribe recipients," he said.

It has been reported that from mid-1990s to 2007 Siemens was engaged in systematic efforts to falsify bribe payments in its books and circumvent internal accounting controls.

Established in 1847, Siemens became embroiled in the bribery scandal in November 2006, leading to investigations in at least a dozen countries.

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