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By: Selena Robinson, Freelance Journalist for WorldNewsVine
Washington, D.C. – In a press release from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency charged Daimler AG with “violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)”. The SEC says that Daimler has bribed officials in multiple countries in an attempt to gain business. According to the complaint, the automaker has been accused of paying out more than $56 million in at least 22 countries, including Hungary, Nigeria, Latvia, Vietnam and Russia. As a result of the illegal bribery practices, Daimler earned more than $1.9 billion of revenue.
SEC Enforcement Chief Robert Khuzami said that the company routinely engaged in these kinds of dealings, stating “It is no exaggeration to describe corruption and bribe-paying at Daimler as a standard business practice.” Cheryl J. Scarboro, who oversees the SEC department charged with enforcing the FCPA Act, described the company’s corruption as “pervasive” and stated that the internal auditing departments should have stopped the bribery, but that they “permitted or were directly involved in the company’s bribery practices”.
To spread the money around, Daimler engaged in several shady business practices, such as using vehicles as kickbacks to foreign officials. In such a maneuver, the automaker even used spare vehicle parts as a kind of payoff under the United Nations program Oil for Food. Occasionally, straight cash was passed between parties by company sales executives.
Although Daimler has not admitted any wrongdoing, the company has agreed to pay a financial restitution of $91.4 million as well as an additional $93.6 million fine to settle the charges. Daimler AG is based in Stuttgart, Germany and produces automobiles under 11 different brands, including Mercedes-Benz and Maybach.