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78 Year Old German National Pleads Guilty In Connection With Argentine Bribery Scheme That Largely Occurred Approximately 20 Years Ago

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As highlighted in this prior post, in December 2011 the DOJ criminally charged several former Siemens’ executives and agents in connection with a relatively small prong of Siemens’ overall massive bribery scheme that was resolved in 2008 for a still-record setting $800 million overall settlement amount.

The relatively small prong involved an Argentine national-identify card project and the following individuals were charged for conduct that allegedly occurred between 1996 and 2009: Uriel Sharef, Herbert Steffen, Andres Truppel, Ulrich Bock, Stephan Signer, Eberhard Reichert, Carlos Sergi and Miguel Czysch.

As highlighted in this prior post, this enforcement action was brought after the DOJ faced scrutiny (including at the November 2010 Senate FCPA hearing) for not bringing any individual enforcement actions in connection with a bribery scheme “unprecedented in scale and geographic reach” in which there existed at Siemens a “corporate culture in which bribery was tolerated and even rewarded at the highest levels of the company.” Indeed, during the Senate’s November 2010 FCPA hearing Senator Arlen Specter gave me this homework assignment regarding the Siemens enforcement action.

As noted here, in 2015 Truppel pleaded guilty and in this March 15th release the DOJ announced that Reichert, who left Siemens in 2001, “pleaded guilty … to one count of conspiring to violate the anti-bribery, internal controls and books and records provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud.”

In the release Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan stated:

“Far too often, companies pay bribes as part of their business plan, upsetting what should be a level playing field and harming companies that play by the rules. In this case, one of the largest public companies in the world paid staggeringly large bribes to officials at the uppermost levels of the government of Argentina to secure a billion-dollar contract.  Eberhard Reichert’s conviction demonstrates the Criminal Division’s commitment to bringing both companies and corrupt individuals to justice, wherever they may reside and regardless of how long they may attempt to avoid arrest.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of the Southern District of New York stated:

“Eberhard Reichert tried to sidestep laws designed to root corruption out of the government contracting process. As he admitted in Manhattan federal court …, Reichert helped to conceal tens of millions of dollars in bribes that were paid to unfairly secure a lucrative contract from the Argentine government.  [This] plea should be a warning to others that our office is committed to bringing corrupt criminals to justice, no matter how long they run from the law.”

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