Investigation of Siemens’ bribery case: millions of dollars moved through a network of offshore companies in BVI, Liechtenstein and Switzerland

In the end of August, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department met with the prosecutors of Munich regarding the case with the illicit slush-fund in the amount of 1.3 billion dollars that was operated by Siemens. The German multinational technology company stands accused of hording this amount used to pay bribes, in order to secure lucrative contracts. There were some “letterbox” companies in the USA and the Virgin Islands that have been involved in the bribery scandal, and Siemens shares are traded at U.S. stock exchanges, so SEC launched its own investigation. The result can be enormous fines, or even revocation of Siemens’ listing in the U.S.

Then, the US investigators are going to visit Luxembourg, to seek information from Clearstream – the international financial clearing house, to know the way how Siemens transferred money, and where they went. In 2001, Clearstream was charged of operating a large system of “unpublished” accounts that were not reflected in the public books. Some of the Siemens accounts also were of this kind.

According to investigators  from Munich, Siemens bribe money was transferred through a network of companies, most of which were in offshore jurisdictions of Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The money probably was transferred there through ‘onshore’ banks in Germany or other countries where Siemens worked.

Another tie between Siemens and Clearstream is Andrew Wang, who is wanted in Taiwan for managing and laundering payoffs for the French company Thomson (Thalès) for sales of six frigates to Taipei in the early 1990s. Wang became the agent of Siemens in 1967, while Cedel was founded in 1971. If Wang used Clearstream to transfer the frigates money, that would have showed his acquaintancy with the system that worked in Siemens.  Now Wang lives in London and has access to his money through secret accounts in British offshore dependencies such as BVI.

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