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Rheinmetall admits bribery of Greek officials, German prosecutor orders €37 million fine

The company is penalised for ‘failing to detect and prevent suspicious payments to sales partners due to inadequate internal controls’
Flickr / AK Rockefeller. Rheinmetall Leopard main battle tank
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A prosecutor in Bremen, Germany, has imposed a €37 million on a subsidiary of the German auto parts maker and defense contractor Rheinmetall, over alleged bribes in connection with arms sale in Greece, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Rheinmetall said Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH ( RDE)  was accused of “failing to detect and prevent suspicious payments to sales partners due to inadequate internal controls”, as part of a criminal investigation into the allegation that unauthorized payments were made during arms deals in Greece by a representative of the company in that country.

“This brings to an end criminal proceedings relating to the allegation that unauthorized payments were made during arms deals in Greece by a representative of the company in that country,” Rheinmetall said. The company said that RDE accepted the fine.

In 2013, Antonis Kantas, the former deputy director of the Greek ministry of defense’s procurement office, admitted to accepting a bribe of €1.5 million from a Greek retired military officer, representing companies including the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall over two procurement programs. He also confessed to receiving a €1.7 million bribe for a third defense contract.

In 2013, RDE’s offices and those of Atlas Elektronik (also involved in the deals) in Athens and Berlin were  raided  by the German and Greek police  as part of an investigation launched by Greek prosecutors over allegations Greek officials were bribed in the purchase of 4 submarines by the Greek Ministry of Defense

Rheinmetall AG which is based  in Düsseldorf and employs 21,000 people makes tracked and wheeled military vehicles. Its revenues last year were €4.7 billion.

 

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