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Legal Proceedings - First six months of fiscal 2009
Significant developments regarding investigations and other legal proceedings that have occurred since the publication of Siemens' Annual Report and Form 20-F are described below.
Public corruption proceedings
Governmental and related proceedings
On December 15, 2008, Siemens AG announced that legal proceedings against it arising from allegations of bribing public officials were concluded on the same day in Munich, Germany, and in Washington, DC.
The Munich public prosecutor announced the termination of legal proceedings alleging the failure of the former Managing Board of Siemens AG to fulfill its supervisory duties. Siemens agreed to pay a fine of €395 million. The payment of the fine marks the conclusion of this legal proceeding against the Company by the Munich public prosecutor. The investigations of former members of the Managing Board, employees of the Company and other individuals remain unaffected by this resolution.
In Washington, DC, Siemens AG pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges of knowingly circumventing and failing to maintain adequate internal controls and failing to comply with the books and records provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). In related cases, three Siemens foreign subsidiaries, Siemens S.A. (Argentina), Siemens Bangladesh Ltd. and Siemens S.A. (Venezuela), pleaded guilty to individual counts of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. In connection with these pleas, Siemens AG and the three subsidiaries agreed to pay a fine of US$450 million to resolve the charges of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). At the same time, Siemens AG settled a civil action against it brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violations of the FCPA. Without admitting or denying the allegations of the SEC complaint, Siemens agreed to the entry of a court judgment permanently restraining and enjoining Siemens AG from violations of the FCPA and to the disgorgement of profits in the amount of US$350 million.
The agreement reflects the U.S. prosecutors' express recognition of Siemens' extraordinary cooperation as well as Siemens' new and comprehensive compliance program and extensive remediation efforts. Based on these facts, the lead agency for U.S. federal government contracts, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), issued a formal determination that Siemens remains a responsible contractor for U.S. government business.
Under the terms of the plea and settlement agreements reached in the United States, Siemens has engaged Dr. Theo Waigel, former German federal finance minister, as compliance monitor to evaluate and report, for a period of up to four years, on the Company's progress in implementing and operating its new compliance programs.
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, the Company accrued a provision in the amount of approximately €1 billion in connection with the discussions with the Munich public prosecutor, the SEC and DOJ for the purpose of resolving their respective investigations. Cash outflows relating to the fines and disgorgements referred to above during the first quarter of fiscal 2009 amounted to €1.008 billion.
As previously reported, in October 2007, the Munich public prosecutor terminated a similar investigation relating to Siemens' former telecommunications or Communications (Com) Group.
Siemens paid €201 million in connection with the termination of this investigation. This brings the total amount paid to authorities in Germany in connection with these legal proceedings to €596 million.
As previously reported, in August 2007, the Nuremberg-Fürth prosecutor began an investigation into possible violations of law in connection with the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. In December 2008, the prosecutor dismissed charges against all accused.
As previously reported, the Sao Paulo, Brazil, Public Prosecutor's Office is conducting an investigation against Siemens relating to the use of business consultants and suspicious payments in connection with the former Transportation Systems Group in or after 2000.
On March 9, 2009, Siemens received a decision by the Vendor Review Committee of the United Nations Secretariat Procurement Division (UNPD) suspending Siemens AG from the UNPD vendor database for a minimum period of six months. The suspension applies to contracts with the UN Secretariat and stems from Siemens' guilty plea in December 2008 to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Siemens does not expect a significant financial impact from this decision. The review of the decision is pending.
In April 2009, the Company received a "Notice of Commencement of Administrative Proceedings and Recommendations of the Evaluation and Suspension Officer" from the World Bank in connection with allegations of sanctionable practices during the period 2004-2006 relating to a World Bank-financed project in Russia. Based on allegations by the World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity, the Evaluation and Suspension Officer of the World Bank (the Officer) has determined that, assuming the facts alleged by the World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity to be true, the evidence is sufficient to support a finding of sanctionable conduct. The Officer has recommended to the World Bank's Sanctions Board (the Sanctions Board) that the Sanctions Board determine that Siemens AG, together with any organization directly or indirectly controlled by Siemens AG, should be declared ineligible to be awarded a contract under any World Bank-financed or World Bank-executed project (the Projects) and to receive the proceeds of any loan made by the World Bank or otherwise to participate further in the preparation or implementation of any Project. The recommended period of ineligibility, if it were to be imposed by the Sanctions Board, would last up to eight years, but could be reduced by up to seven years if Siemens AG has taken appropriate steps to cooperate with the World Bank and has maintained an effective corporate compliance program acceptable to the World Bank. If imposed, the recommended ineligibility would extend across the World Bank Group, including the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency and investment projects guaranteed by the World Bank. Siemens has not yet had an opportunity to be heard on the matter and intends, in accordance with the World Bank's administrative sanctions proceedings, to submit a written response and to contest the Officer's recommendation. In accordance with the World Bank's administrative sanctions proceedings, Siemens will request a hearing of the Sanctions Board on the matter. Upon such contest and request, the matter will be referred to the Sanctions Board which will decide after a hearing, whether the evidence supports a finding of sanctionable practices and will determine the sanctions, if any, to be imposed on Siemens AG or any other Siemens entity. In determining the appropriate sanction, the Sanctions Board will not be bound by the recommendation of the Officer. Pending a final outcome of the sanctions proceedings, Siemens AG will be temporarily suspended from eligibility to be awarded additional Projects and to participate in new activities under the Projects, unless the Officer determines, upon a written submission by Siemens AG, that a suspension should not come into effect. Siemens AG intends to make such a submission.
The Company remains subject to corruption-related investigations in several jurisdictions around the world. As a result, additional criminal or civil sanctions could be brought against the Company itself or against certain of its employees in connection with possible violations of law. In addition, the scope of pending investigations may be expanded and new investigations commenced in connection with allegations of bribery and other illegal acts. The Company's operating activities, financial results and reputation may also be negatively affected, particularly due to imposed penalties, fines, disgorgements, compensatory damages, third-party litigation, including by competitors, the formal or informal exclusion from public procurement contracts or the loss of business licenses or permits. Additional expenses and provisions may need to be recorded in the future for penalties, fines, damages or other charges, which could be material, in connection with the investigations.
As previously reported, an alleged holder of Siemens AG American Depositary Shares filed a derivative lawsuit in February 2007 with the Supreme Court of the State of New York against certain current and former members of Siemens AG's Managing and Supervisory Boards as well as against Siemens AG as a nominal defendant, seeking various forms of relief relating to the allegations of corruption and related violations at Siemens. The stay agreement with respect to the suit was terminated in December 2008.
As previously disclosed, in June 2008, the Republic of Iraq filed an action requesting unspecified damages against 93 named defendants with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on the basis of findings made in the IIC Report. Siemens S.A.S France, Siemens A.S. Turkey and Osram Middle East FZE, Dubai are among the 93 named defendants. During the second quarter of fiscal 2009, Siemens S.A.S France and Siemens A.S. Turkey received service of process.
The Company has been approached by a competitor to discuss claims it believes it has against the Company with respect to alleged improper payments by the Company in connection with the procurement of public and private contracts. The Company has not received sufficient information to evaluate whether any basis exists for such claims.
As previously reported, the Company investigates evidence of bank accounts at various locations, as well as the amount of the funds. Certain funds have been frozen by authorities. During the first six months of fiscal 2009, the Company recorded an amount of €21 million in other operating income from the recovery of funds from certain such accounts.
As previously reported, in February 2007, the Norwegian Competition Authority launched an investigation into possible antitrust violations involving Norwegian companies active in the field of fire security, including Siemens Building Technologies AS. In December 2008, the Norwegian Competition Authority issued a final decision that Siemens Building Technologies AS had not violated antitrust regulations.
As previously reported, in February 2007, the European Commission launched an investigation into possible antitrust violations involving European producers of power transformers, including Siemens AG and VA Tech, which Siemens acquired in July 2005. The German Antitrust Authority (Bundeskartellamt) has become involved in the proceeding and is responsible for investigating those allegations that relate to the German market. Power transformers are electrical equipment used as major components in electric transmission systems in order to adapt voltages. The Company is cooperating in the ongoing investigation with the European Commission and the German Antitrust Authority. In November 2008, the European Commission finalized its investigation and forwarded its statement of objections to the involved companies.
As previously reported, on October 25, 2007, upon the Company's appeal, a Hungarian competition court reduced administrative fines imposed on Siemens AG for alleged antitrust violations in the market of high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear from €0.320 million to €0.120 million and from €0.640 million to €0.110 million regarding VA Tech. The Company and the Competition Authority appealed the decision. In November 2008, the Court of Appeal confirmed the reduction of the fines. On December 5, 2008, the Competition Authority filed an extraordinary challenge with the Supreme Court based on alleged violations of law.
As previously reported, a suit and motion for approval of a class action was filed in Israel in December 2007 to commence a class action based on the fines imposed by the European Commission for alleged antitrust violations in the high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear market.
Thirteen companies were named as defendants in the suit and motion, among them Siemens AG Germany, Siemens AG Austria and Siemens Israel Ltd. The class action alleged damages to electricity consumers in Israel in the amount of approximately €575 million related to higher electricity prices claimed to have been paid because of the alleged antitrust violations. At a hearing on December 11, 2008, the plaintiff requested to withdraw from the action and from the motion to certify the action as a class action. The court approved the request and dismissed the action and the motion to certify.
In November 2008, a claim was issued by National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc. (National Grid) in the High Court of England and Wales in connection with the January 24, 2007 decision of the European Commission regarding alleged antitrust violations in the high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear market. Twenty-one companies have been named as defendants, including Siemens AG and Siemens affiliates. National Grid asserts claims in the aggregate amount of approximately £249 million for damages and compound interest. Siemens believes National Grid's claim to be without merit and intends to contest it.
In December 2008, the Company was informed that the Turkish Competition Authority has opened an investigation into violations of competition law in the area of medical equipment spare parts and service keys.
In February 2007, the Company announced that public prosecutors in Nuremberg are conducting an investigation of certain current and former employees of the Company on suspicion of criminal breach of fiduciary duties against Siemens, tax evasion and a violation of the German Works Council Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz). The investigation related to an agreement entered into by Siemens with an entity controlled by the former head of the independent employee association AUB (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Unabhängiger Betriebsangehöriger) and payments made during the period 2001 to 2006 for which Siemens may not have received commensurate services in return. In April 2007, the labor union IG Metall lodged a criminal complaint against unknown individuals on suspicion that the Company breached the provisions of Section 119 of the Works Council Constitution Act by providing undue preferential support to AUB in connection with elections of the members of the Company's works councils. In November 2008, the Regional Court of Nuremberg-Fürth found a former member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG guilty of criminal breach of fiduciary duty and tax evasion. The Nuremberg-Fürth prosecutor is also conducting an investigation against two other former members of the Managing Board on suspicion of abetting breach of fiduciary duty.
Pursuant to an agreement dated June 6, 2005, the Company sold its mobile devices business to Qisda Corp. (formerly named BenQ Corp.), a Taiwanese company. As previously reported, a dispute arose in 2006 between the Company and Qisda concerning the calculation of the purchase price. From September 2006 onwards, several subsidiaries in different countries used by Qisda for purposes of the acquisition of various business assets from the Company filed for insolvency protection and failed to fulfill their obligations under various contracts transferred to them by the Company under the 2005 agreement. On December 8, 2006, the Company initiated arbitration proceedings against Qisda requesting a declaratory award that certain allegations made by Qisda in relation to the purchase price calculation are unjustified. The Company further requested an order that Qisda perform its obligations and/or the obligations of its local subsidiaries assumed in connection with the acquisition or, in the alternative, that Qisda indemnify the Company for any losses. The Company's request for arbitration was filed with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris (ICC). The seat of arbitration is Zurich, Switzerland. In March 2007, Qisda raised a counterclaim alleging that the Company made misrepresentations in connection with the sale of the mobile devices business and asserted claims for the adjustment of the purchase price.
In November 2007, the Company expanded its claims that Qisda indemnify the Company in relation to any losses suffered as a result of Qisda's failure to perform its obligations and/or the obligations of its locally incorporated subsidiaries. Qisda amended its counterclaim in March 2008 by (i) changing its request for declaratory relief with regard to the alleged misrepresentations to a request for substantial damages, and (ii) raising further claims for substantial damages and declaratory relief. The parties have resolved their disputes relating to Qisda Corp.'s purchase of the mobile device business. Upon joint request of the parties, the ICC issued an Award by Consent in March 2009.
As reported, the Company is member of a supplier consortium contracted by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) for the construction of the nuclear power plant "Olkiluoto 3" in Finland. The Company's share in the contract price payable to the supplier consortium is approximately 27%. The other member of the supplier consortium is a further consortium consisting of Areva NP SAS and its wholly-owned affiliate Areva NP GmbH. The agreed completion date for the nuclear power plant was April 30, 2009. The supplier consortium announced in January 2009 that it expected the project to be delayed by 38 months in total. Since the reasons for the delay are disputed, the supplier consortium filed a request for arbitration against TVO in December 2008. The supplier consortium has demanded an extension of the construction time and the payment of approximately €1 billion in outstanding down payments, as well as additional compensation. In its response to the request for arbitration, TVO rejected the demand for an extension of time and made counterclaims for damages relating to the delay, and interest on purportedly prematurely made down payments. Based on a delay of 38 months, TVO estimates that its total counterclaims against the supplier consortium amount to up to €1.4 billion.
On November 25, 2008, Siemens announced that the Company and the BenQ Mobile GmbH & Co. OHG Insolvency Administrator had reached a settlement after constructive discussions that began in 2006. In the settlement agreement, Siemens agreed to a gross payment of €300 million, which was paid in December 2008. However, the settlement is expected to result in a net payment of approximately €255 million after taking into account Siemens' creditor claims. Since Siemens had made a sufficient provision for the expected settlement, the settlement will not have any material negative impact on results of operations for fiscal 2009.
In April 2009, Areva S.A. (Areva) filed an ICC arbitration against Siemens. Areva seeks an order that would prevent Siemens from taking any further steps with regard to a possible joint venture with Rosatom, a declaration that Siemens is in material breach of its obligations under the shareholder agreement and damages in an amount to be ascertained. Siemens intends to file for a dismissal of the request for arbitration.
In December 2008, the Polish Agency of Internal Security (AWB) remanded into custody an employee of Siemens Healthcare Poland, in connection with an investigation regarding a public tender issued by the hospital of Wroczlaw in 2008. According to the AWB, the Siemens employee and the deputy hospital director are accused of having manipulated the tender procedure.
In April 2009, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the U.S. Department of Defense conducted a search at the premises of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. in Malvern, Pennsylvania, in connection with an investigation relating to a Siemens contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for the provision of medical equipment.
Expenses for outside advisors engaged by Siemens in connection with the investigations into alleged violations of anti-corruption laws and related matters as well as remediation activities amounted to €84 million and €302 million during the first six months of fiscal 2009 and 2008, respectively.
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