Transparency International Siemens Revolving Door Spins, Money Pipeline Flows

After Siemens plead guilty in 2008 in one of the largest corporate bribery cases in history, Transparency International, the world’s largest anti-bribery organization, distanced itself from the company.

Before the guilty plea, Siemens financially supported Transparency International chapters and had a close working relationship with the TI headquarters and its chapters.

After the guilty plea, not.

But time, apparently, heals all wounds.

Now, six years after the Siemens guilty plea, the revolving door has begun to spin again, and the money has begun to flow again, between Siemens and Transparency International chapters.

Siemens sees its renewed affiliation with Transparency International as a way to greenwash its tattered reputation.

Transparency International sees Siemens as a piggy bank to replenish its diminished treasury, having lost millions after being cut off recently by state funding agencies.

On the revolving door front, 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 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.”

Mittermaier is the director of “collective action” in the Siemens legal and compliance department.

Michael Hershman, a co-founder of Transparency International who sits on the board of TI-USA, is also a “compliance advisor” to Siemens.

On the money flow front, Siemens has begun to open the spigot.

Local Transparency International chapters, which are largely independent of Transparency International headquarters in Berlin, have been on the receiving end in recent years, with TI USA accepting $660,000 for three years, TI Italy taking $600,000 for three years, TI Bulgaria taking $450,000 for three years, and TI Mexico taking $230,000 for three years.

Last year, Transparency International headquarters in Berlin prepared an application to Siemens for millions of dollars of funding, according to TI insiders. There’s no word as to whether Siemens has begun funding the main group.

Transparency International Berlin and Siemens did not return calls seeking comment.

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