As reported in the December 2008 FCPA Advisor, on December 15, 2008, Siemens AG agreed to pay $800 million to U.S. authorities in connection with improper payments to foreign officials made by numerous of its subsidiaries, including Siemens Bangladesh Ltd. (“Siemens Bangladesh”), which pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the books and records and anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA in connection with the settlement. Siemens Bangladesh admitted that it caused over $5.3 million in corrupt payments to be made to Bangladeshi government officials and/or their relatives to secure a $40 million contract to create a nationwide digital cellular mobile telephone network for the government. Now, the Department is seeking to recover the proceeds of that and other corruption.
On January 9, 2009, the Department announced that it filed a forfeiture action against approximately $3 million in funds located in Singapore held by multiple account holders, including Arafat “Koko” Rahman, the son of the former prime minister of Bangladesh. According to the forfeiture complaint, most of the funds in Rahman’s account were bribes allegedly received in connection with a large public works contract awarded to Siemens Bangladesh, Siemens AG and China Harbor Engineering Company.25 The Department asserted forfeiture jurisdiction because some of the funds in Rahman’s account came from a U.S. bank account and the bribes paid in U.S. dollars were transmitted using U.S. financial institutions. In its press release announcing the forfeiture proceedings, the Department made clear that the matter was indicative of “the lengths to which U.S. law enforcement will go to recover the proceeds of foreign corruption, including acts of bribery and money laundering.” The action further highlights the many tools at the disposal of US authorities to punish corrupt foreign officials who are not subject to prosecution under the FCPA.