FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Siemens AG said Thursday that a German court fined it about $284 million, bringing to an end one of several investigations into allegations that employees made illegal payments trying to secure more contracts for the maker of motors, climate control systems and medical diagnostic equipment.
The Munich District Court issued the ruling on the 201 million euros (US$284.7 million) fine, which the company said it would not appeal.
Siemens — whose broad range of offerings also includes power plants and communications networks — said a final settlement regarding the fine was reached with German tax authorities over the payments of 450 million euros ($634.9 million) that were later found to be non-deductible, which resulted in a tax charge of 179 million euros ($252.6 million).
The issue, prosecutors and the company said, stemmed from Siemens' failure to properly declare the 450 million euros to tax authorities.
''Siemens stands by its responsibility. We do not accept any kind of illegal behavior and punish offenses with clear consequences,'' said chief executive Peter Loescher.
The case is one of several that have dogged the Munich-based company, which is facing other investigations of bribery and corruption allegations by officials in Italy, Germany and the United States.
Also Thursday, court spokeswoman Margarete Noetzel said Munich prosecutors had filed charges against a longtime Siemens manager in connection with the ongoing scandal. The charges are the first to be brought against a manager for the company.
The case is not expected to be brought to trial until 2008, Noetzel said.
Investigators are looking into allegations that employees of Siemens paid hundreds of millions of euros in bribes to land telecom deals.
Siemens previously has said it had uncovered 420 million euros ($592.6 million) in suspicious transactions and that it is cooperating fully with authorities.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that an internal corruption investigation had uncovered about 1.6 billion euros ($2.26 billion) in suspicious payments. Siemens has declined to comment on the report, citing the ongoing investigations.
The new disclosure of suspicious payments was made by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, the U.S. law firm that Siemens hired to conduct its own internal investigation. Siemens said that the law firm is continuing its investigations.