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Siemens says it didn't break law in Iraq oil-for-food program

Siemens AG said it „believes” the company didn't break the law in connection with the so-called oil-for-food program in Iraq and repeated it's cooperating with investigations by US and French authorities.

Siemens reviewed the allegations and „based on our internal state of knowledge, our employees didn't break the law,” spokesman Constantin Birnstiel said via phone today. Siemens is „cooperating with the US and French authorities,” he said. Europe's largest engineering company said in August a French magistrate is probing the company's role in the oil-for-food program in Iraq and had started a „preliminary investigation” on the role played by Siemens's French unit in the program. The company said on May 5 it received a subpoena from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and was asked to produce „certain documents” related to the program.

Munich-based Siemens, in its annual report filed with the SEC on December 7 in 2005 said, that an inquiry into the United Nations' oil-for-food program alleged that Siemens' divisions in France and Turkey as well as the company's Osram lighting division in the Middle East paid bribes to Iraq's former regime. The company is under pressure after police officers searched its offices in November on suspicion that company funds were used to bribe customers. The probe, which has spread to at least six countries including Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein, has forced Siemens to review €420 million ($544 million) in payments to check their legality. (Bloomberg)