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GERMANY: Daimler 'acts over Iraq bribes'

BBC News
January 19th, 2006

DaimlerChrysler has suspended at least six managers over bribery allegations linked to the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq, the Financial Times says.

Quoting "people close to the carmaker", the paper said between six and nine senior managers had been suspended after an internal investigation.

A report published last year listed the carmaker among more than 2,000 firms said to have paid Iraqi kickbacks.

The allegations against DaimlerChrysler involve an armoured truck contract.

Illicit Payments

The company refused to comment on whether any managers had been suspended.

It said it was still investigating the claims and passing information about "certain accounts, transactions and payments... involving government entities" to both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

In October 2005, a UN report published by former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker found that Saddam Hussein's regime received $1.8bn (1bn) in illicit payments from firms including Siemens, Volvo and the Weir Group.

His report examined the $60bn (32bn) UN oil-for-food programme, which was set up to ease the effect of sanctions imposed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait.

The report said that the firms it cited would not necessarily have known about any bribes or surcharges.

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