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US investigators tool up as pressure on Siemens grows

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Siemens has revealed that it is under investigation by the US Department of Justice over allegations that it paid out some €420m in bribes to help it secure telecoms contracts outside of Germany.

The company, Europe's largest engineering firm, is also facing an informal investigation by the Security and Exchanges Commission, the Financial Times reports. Both investigations were disclosed in the company's first quarter report.

Siemens is already being investigated by prosecutors based in Munich, Italy, Greece, and Liechtenstein over the allegations.

The company has also hired a US law firm Debevoise to investigate the allegations on its behalf. It says it is prepared to share the results of the investigation with the DoJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It has also hired external auditors and an anti-corruption expert since the scandal broke.

The news follows a bumpy AGM, where spokespeople for current CEO Klaus Kleinfeld were forced to deny rumours that the company is preparing to replace him, should his name be dragged into the scandal.

Chairman Heinrich v. Peirer made a point of distancing himself from the scandal, which is alleged to have occurred while he was CEO. He told the AGM that he had taken steps to fight corruption within the company, and pledged his "unconditional support" for those working to clarify the situation, according to an IDG report. ®

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