Suspended sentences for the former Ferrostaal managers
Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung
The Criminal Court for Commercial Crime of the 6th Chamber of the Munich Regional Court I met the parties to the criminal trial four times during the last five months. This procedure is not unusual for such complex criminal trials such as that of the Ferrostaal bribery scandal where immense sums were paid in kickbacks relating to the submarine sales of the Kiel HDW shipbuilder to Greece and Portugal. Since millions were paid as bribes the court wanted to clarify the details despite the pleas of guilt by the accused.
Although this procedure is not unusual in such complex matters, the presiding judge, Joachim Eckert, emphasised at the outset of the trial that started on Thursday that "nothing has been agreed upon behind closed doors". Yet, the two main accused, former board member of Ferrostaal Johann-Friedrich H. and the director of his section, Hans-Dieter M., have been informed about the sentences they could expect. They should expect a suspended sentence of two years and fines amounting to several €10 000.
Both accused pleaded guilty after a short break in proceedings. They were accused of having bribed officials in Greece and Portugal. According to the prosecutors, the two men, who are meanwhile 73 years old, have manipulated the outcome of the deals by having paid substantial bribes. In Greece more than €60million in "commissions" were channelled via backhanders when the Greek Navy ordered submarines worth €1,6 billion. The charge sheet sets out that they were well aware that this money would find its way to decision-makers in the relevant ministries. The former Greek minister of defence, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, has been mentioned specifically.
The sentence which Ferrostaal, a former subsidiary of MAN, could expect was also discussed in the leadup to the trial. The Essen firm will probably have to pay a fine of around €140 million for the dealings and wheelings of its former managers. It would hardly be possible for Ferrostaal to pay these fines. As a result of the scandals, the firm has serious financial difficulties. The financial director of Ferrostaal, Robert Moll, indicated that every fourth employee of the 700 employees of Ferrostaal is bound to lose their jobs and that for 2011 a substantial deficit is to be expected.
With acknowledgements to Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung.
Zeitung's report this morning
reports that the accused and the prosecutors met in chambers four times in
advance of the actual trial which is now taking place and in its second of four
court days. Germany does not follow the typical Anglo-Saxon accusatory system in
criminal trials. It is also not purely inquisitory like in France. The German
model is a combination of both systems. This just as a background to explain the
unfamiliar procedure. So what is starting now, is the fullscale public trial,
which will stretch over four days because Judge Joachim Eckert still wants to
hear witnesses to verify the statements of the Ferrostaal accused.
The Financial Times Deutschland in its story today basically says the same as the FAZ.
It states though, that if the 2 accused were not already 73 years of age, that they would have had to face a jail sentence of up to ten years. Haum could expect a fine of €36 000 and his section manager €180 80 000. Ferrostaal is expected to get a fine of €140 million for its bribery and then there is a little paragraph, which is not that clear. It states that Ferrostaal's attorney, Klaus Volk, accepted the fine of €140 million. According to other reports in April 2011, the prosecutors still insisted on €196 million. One sentence says:
"In another matter, a further fine of €10 million is to be expected, which adds up to a total fine of €149 million."
From other reports, it is
understood that the biggest chunk of the fine relates to the €60 million in
bribes paid to the Greeks. So it is possible that the fine of €140 million
relates to the Greek bribes and the €2 million bribes that were paid to
Portuguese might be relating to the fine of an additional €10 million. But that
does not quite make sense because the fine would then be 5 times higher than the
bribe. It is suspected that the €140 million relates to the combined bribes for
the Greeks and the Portuguese. But then the question is what is this "other
matter". Bribes to the South Africans perhaps?
Acknowledgements to LW.
And serve this trough feeder right when it has to lay off 25% of its staff and endure a substantial financial benefit for the year.
The entire supervisory board should be incarcerated for 15 years each and the company should be blacklisted in North America, the EU, Scandinavia and South Africa for 20 years, in addition to its €149 million fine.
With a €149 million we could acquire around 10 million kilogrammes of reasonable quality blutwurst (@ €14,9/kg) which means that each of 53 million inhabitants of the RSA could get 200 grams of this delicate offset in their Christmas stocking this Christmas.