Siemens Donates $3 Million to Transparency International

Siemens has donated $3 million to the world’s leading anti-corruption organization, Berlin-based Transparency International.

Siemens pled guilty in 2008 to bribery charges and paid more than $1.6 billion in penalties. Siemens was implicated in corruption in Greece, Norway, Iraq, Vietnam, Italy, Israel, Argentina, Venezuela, China and Russia.


And Siemens admitted last year in  filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that there are ongoing and recent corruption investigations into Siemens activities in Kuwait, Central Asia, the Caribbean, Brazil, Argentina, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Venezuela, South Africa, Thailand, and Bangladesh — as well as at the Inter-American Development Bank and  European Investment Bank.

“This really shows that Transparency International is not as pure as people think,” said a Transparency International insider, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.  “Transparency International’s own policy forbids accepting money from corrupt companies. Period. Even though the Siemens bribery scandal broke in 2006, the company is still being investigated in more than 20 countries — in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. All over the world, Siemens is still under suspicion.”

“Its reputation is the most valuable asset that Transparency International has. But its management has made the choice that taking $3 million from Siemens to support its $70 million international budget is worth the risk of damaging its reputation. That’s less than 5 percent of TI’s budget. Is this really worth it?”

“How can anyone trust TI? The world’s leading anti-corruption NGO is now taking money from one of the world’s worst corporate criminals. People need to start asking the question.”

Last year, the group filed an application to Siemens for millions of dollars in funding.

In September 2013, Jana Mittermaier, the head of TI’s Brussels office, left to join Siemens Integrity Initiative — which was established under a settlement with the World Bank over corruption allegations in July 2009.

According to Siemens, the initiative “supports organizations and projects around the world that fight corruption and fraud through collective action, education and training.”

As we reported last year, the problem for Transparency International is that it’s own due diligence procedures prohibit taking money from corporations that want to greenwash their reputations.


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