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Siemens-Nokia networks merger postponed

Siemens corruption scandal broadens

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The €20bn merger of the Nokia and Siemens networks businesses will be postponed by a couple of months as a result of the broadening corruption scandal at Siemens.

The two companies were to merge their telecoms equipment and network activities as of 1 January to close the gap with Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. However, last week Nokia said the merger could be pushed back to March pending "an appropriate compliance review prior to closing of the transaction".

Last Wednesday, German police arrested former Siemens board member Thomas Ganswindt who was responsible for the group's telecoms equipment division.

Siemens is accused of bribing brutal Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha to gain important telecoms contracts in the mid-90s. Other company funds were allegedly used for bribes in connection with Siemens' telecommunications activities in Asia and Europe.

Siemens admitted that certain employees have engaged in fraud. The group has appointed an external auditor and legal firm to help investigate the scandal.

Nokia says it remains "very committed" to its telecoms network equipment venture with Siemens despite the corruption probe and doesn't expect the venture to fall apart. ®

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