Faced with bribery charges, Daimler is expected to plea bargain with the Justice Department.
Daimler AG’s reputation for corporate integrity is hanging by slender thread after the US Department of Justice filed an “information,” in federal court, charging the German automaker with systematically paying millions of dollars in bribes to officials in 22 different countries, among them North Korea, to secure business over the last decade.
“Information” is different from a federal indictment but usually precedes a guilty plea by an individual or company. Indeed, while Chrysler has little to say about the action by the Feds, word is already circulating that Daimler has already agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and pay more than $182 million in fines to Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission.
The “criminal” activities outlined in the court documents filed by the Justice Department were common during Juergen Schrempp’s tenure as Daimler’s chief executive but continued after even Dieter Zetsche took over from Schrempp in the summer of 2005.
Neither Zetsche nor Schrempp were accused of misfeasance in the information.
However, count one of the charges specifically states, “From in our about 1999, through in or about January 2008, within the territory of the United States and elsewhere, defendant Daimler AG and others known and unknown did unlawfully, willfully and knowingly combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other to commit an offense against the US, specifically to knowingly falsify and caused to be falsified books, records and accounts, which in reasonable detail, and would accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and disposition of the assets of Daimler AG.” (more…)