Former Siemens management lax on anti-corruption: report

BERLIN, August 16, 2008 (AFP) – German engineering giant Siemens ignored its own anti-corruption procedures in a slush fund scandal that has brought down a number of former group executives, Spiegel magazine said. “Netzwerk-compliance,” a network comprising more than 400 businesses created to secure good company governance, identified “considerable structural shortcomings” in Siemens’ anti-corruption rules, according to a “strictly confidential” document by Hengeler Mueller lawyers’ office for Siemens.

Hengeler Mueller pinpointed a conflict of interest in the company’s auditing office tasked with preventing corruption and protecting the group if corruption cases were revealed, the magazine said in its edition to be published Monday.

Steps to improve the way the auditing office works also met with “considerable opposition by management,” it added.

With its 80 members, the audit department was understaffed compared to its US competitor General Electric (GE) which employs 300 people in its compliance department, according to an internal 2005 study, quoted by the magazine.

Siemens said late last month it would pursue former directors for damages in an unprecedented action based on a claim they ign