The Department of Justice announced that Daimler AG resolved Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges in this press release.
According to court documents, Daimler AG and its subsidiaries made hundreds of improper payments worth tens of millions of dollars to foreign officials in at least 22 countries – including China, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Latvia, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and others – to assist in securing contracts with government customers for the purchase of Daimler vehicles. The contracts were valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. In some cases, Daimler AG or its subsidiaries wire transferred these improper payments to U.S. bank accounts or to the foreign bank accounts of U.S. shell companies, in order for those entities to pass on the bribes. Within Daimler AG and its subsidiaries, bribe payments were often identified and recorded as “commissions,” “special discounts,” and/or “nützliche Aufwendungen” or “N.A.” payments, which translates to “useful payment” or “necessary payment,” and was understood by certain Daimler employees to mean “official bribe.” According to court documents, certain corrupt payments continued as late as January 2008, after the Department of Justice had begun its investigation. In all cases, Daimler AG improperly recorded these corrupt payments in its corporate books and records. Daimler AG admitted that it earned more than $50 million in profits from corrupt transactions with a nexus to the territory of the United States. Daimler AG also admitted that it agreed to pay kickbacks to the former Iraqi government in connection with contracts to sell vehicles to Iraq under the U.N.’s Oil for Food program.