Alex Constantine - April 15, 2008
13 Apr 08
New allegations that Siemens worked for Germany’s top spy agency for over a decade and that top managers knew of a bribery scandal as early as 2003 are creating problems for Europe’s largest engineering company.
Former Siemens managers claim Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had a representative on the company’s management board, and that Siemens provided the BND with both technology and technical support for espionage purposes, the German news magazine Der Spiegel has reported.
The magazine further alleged that Siemens supplied surveillance and wiretap technology to countries all over the world, including Russia, Egypt and Oman. The intelligence specialists within the company are said to have worked at ICM Voice & Data Recording in a separate building from the Siemens’ headquarters.
In addition to the espionage claims, former Siemens CEO Heinrich von Pierer has been further implicated in the corruption scandal currently under investigation.
According to reports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, von Pierer knew about allegations that employees routinely used slush funds to provide kickbacks to clients in return for business as early as November 2003, when Siemens’ former compliance officer addressed the issue.
Albrecht Schäfer told a Munich court that he informed the management board about bribery payments that were linked to a court case in Milan in 2003. The court was addressing allegations of kickbacks paid to Italian energy utility company Enel in connection with the sale of turbines.
Von Pierer has insisted that he was not aware at the time of the existence of slush funds.
The next Siemens supervisory board meeting is slated for April 29.