Thu Mar 29th, 2007 at 04:32:36 PM EST
On Wednesday, Johannes Feldmayer, an acting CEO of German electronics giant Siemens was arrested on corruption charges. Prosecutors later let it be known that they are already eyeing the chairman of the oversight board, famed former top CEO Heinrich von Pierer, and his predecessor in the oversight board, Karl-Hermann Baumann.
This is the latest peak of a scandal brewing for months, during which trails to dozens of CEOs were followed. According to the charges, the managers misappropiated up to 200 million (according to Siemens internal investigators, up to 420 million), and turned them into black funds, which they used to ease the wheels of tender-granting processes and such.
For example, Mr. Feldmayer is accused of financing and buying the compliance of an industrial council chairman (who formed his council in opposition to the unions) with 14 million. Another particularly obscene case were payments to a former manager, after he was caught with corruption in an Italian power plant deal in 2003, despite losses to Siemens from that scandal.
For me, the morale of the story is not that Siemens is a crooked company -- I suspect Siemens was only 'unlucky' to have been caught doing this.