5 Apr 2010

Daimler admits bribery to help win contracts

9:00 am on 5 April 2010

German carmaker Daimler has pleaded guilty to corruption and will pay $US185 million to settle the case.

Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, admitted to paying tens of millions of dollars of bribes to foreign government officials in at least 22 countries, between 1998 and 2008, the BBC reports

The offences were committed by Daimler's German-based exports subsidiary Export and Trade Finance, and its Russian business Mercedes-Benz Russia.

They were said to have given money and lavish gifts to help win contracts in at least 22 countries including China, Russia, Thailand, Greece, and Iraq.

The US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigated the company's global sales practices, and the case was heard in a federal court in Washington.

The Justice Department said that by "using offshore bank accounts, third-party agents and deceptive pricing practices, these companies saw foreign bribery as a way of doing business".

Daimler has since fired 45 employees implicated in the bribery and says it has reformed the way it does business.