German engineering giant Siemens has angrily disputed a Wall Street Journal story alleging that two Siemens executives were aware of a practice in which bribes were allegedly paid to win overseas telecommunications contracts.
On Tuesday, the newspaper reported that two individuals have told German prosecutors that chief financial officer Joe Kaeser and board member Rudi Lamprecht have known for years about the alleged scheme. Lothar Pauly, who headed the telecom division before leaving Siemens in late 2005, was also reportedly named.
“Both Joe Kaeser and Rudi Lamprecht emphatically reject this slanderous allegation,” the company stated, according to the Associated Press. “Neither has been contacted by the state prosecutors and to their knowledge there is no investigation against them.” Siemens reportedly added that Kaeser and Lamprecht learned of the alleged scheme only from the company’s compliance officer.
Pauly’s attorney, Kurt Kiethe, told Reuters that “it’s all false.” Pauly left Siemens in 2005, added the wire service, and is now in charge of Deutsche Telekom’s corporate-customers unit, T-Systems.
Kaeser has been CFO since 2006. His predecessor, Heinz-Joachim Neubuerger, was reportedly questioned by German prosecutors earlier this month; he has denied wrongdoing.
According to news agency AFP, Siemens has been the target of probes since November, when prosecutors raided the offices and homes of a number of company employees on suspicions of embezzlement, bribery, and tax evasion. Reportedly, seven current and former employees were detained for questioning but then released.