US 'expands DaimlerChrysler bribes inquiry'

8th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 August 2005, HAMBURG - DaimlerChrysler, already in turmoil because of a management shakeout, was rocked Friday by a news report that Washington was expanding an inquiry into alleged bribery by the German-American car company in more than a dozen nations.

8 August 2005

HAMBURG - DaimlerChrysler, already in turmoil because of a management shakeout, was rocked Friday by a news report that Washington was expanding an inquiry into alleged bribery by the German-American car company in more than a dozen nations.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had opened a formal investigation, and the U.S. Department of Justice had requested information on the claims, DaimlerChrysler said in its quarterly report at the end of July.

According to The Wall Street Journal on Friday, the Justice Department was now pursuing a criminal investigation of the claims.

DaimlerChrysler said Friday the claims were more than a year old and the company had a strong interest in resolving the issue.

The Wall Street Journal reported the inquiry had expanded after a 53-year-old executive who had run a DaimlerChrysler plant in Nigeria committed suicide in Germany on July 22. It quoted sources saying investigators were examining his farewell note.

Speculation continued on whom DaimlerChrysler would appoint to run its Mercedes car and Smart operations in Europe after the executive in charge, Eckhard Cordes, fell from grace a week ago when chief executive Juergen Schrempp announced his resignation.

Media reports say Dieter Zetsche, to take over as chief executive in January, may run the division in the interim.

Cordes' decision to cash in options on incentive shares for a large profit were interpreted as a sign he had finished with the company. Daimler Chrysler's website said Friday 10 further directors had exercised their options in recent days.

Meanwhile sources at Smart denied the micro-car manufacturer was seeking a joint-venture partner. A German newspaper, Handelsblatt, had said Smart had put out feelers to Volkswagen. The latter company also denied the report.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article