The US says Daimler's actions resulted in $50 million in pretax profits for Daimler, while for the duration of the activities the carmaker paid tens of millions and won contracts worth hundreds of millions.
"In some cases, Daimler wired these improper payments to U.S. bank accounts or to the foreign bank accounts of U.S. shell companies in order to transmit the bribe. The bribes were made by over-invoicing customers and paying the excess back to top government officials or their proxies, with many of the payments being made through more than 200 internal "third-party accounts," prosecutors say in the court files.
According to the charges, Daimler has engaged "in a long-standing practice of paying bribes", which help it secure deals Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria or Iraq. In all, Daimler engaged in such practices in 22 countries in between 1998 and 2008.
Daimler somewhat admits to the charges and agreed to settle the dispute by paying $93.6 million to resolve the Justice Department probe and $91.4 million to the SEC. In both cases, Daimler will not plead guilty or admit any wrongdoing.
"Daimler has taken various actions designed to address and resolve the issues identified in the course of its investigation and to safeguard against the recurrence of improper conduct," the company said in its 2009 annual report, cited by the source.