Former German executive convicted of paying kickback in Kazakhstan
A former senior executive at MAN, the German engineering group, was convicted Wednesday of paying a huge kickback to obtain an order from Kazakhstan to supply turbines, DPA reported.
Heinz Juergen M, 66, was given a suspended jail term of two years imprisonment for bribing foreign officials.
Judge Joachim Eckert said the "market entry fee" of 9 million euros (11 million dollars) paid by MAN Turbo in 2004 was clearly a "bribe."
The Munich trial was the first since bribes-for-contracts methods at MAN were uncovered and was part of a wider crackdown inside Germany against corrupt exporters. Bribe-taking is now seen as a main cause of bad governance worldwide.
M admitted the charge last week as part of a plea bargain where he was assured he would not actually have to spend time in jail if he gave a full account of the deal. German media usually withhold defendants' surnames on privacy grounds.
Prosecutor Richard Findl agreed to the light sentence, saying M had cooperated with the trial and had also renounced a MAN retirement bonus worth 500,000 euros to help the company recover some of the misappropriated money.
Last week M, who was head of the MAN Turbo division till 2007, told the court in Munich the payment was needed to prevent the contract going to competitors. The turbines replaced older Russian models that raise pressure on Kazakhstan's gas pipeline network.
MAN also makes trucks and buses.
M said the money went, via several bank accounts, to a woman who was a conduit to "clans that have considerable economic and political influence" in Kazakhstan. One other former MAN executive is expected to face trial on similar charges.
The company agreed to pay penalties and tax arrears totalling 220 million euros after the scandal was disclosed.