German automaker Daimler AG, one of the biggest manufacturers of premium cars, pleaded guilty and agreed to settle a corruption case by paying $185 million fine to the US government for bribing foreign officials to secure business.
Two units of the Stuttgart-based Daimler, maker of the premium Mercedes-Benz cars, pleaded guilty to violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in a case bought on by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
US-listed companies and its employees are barred from bribing foreign officials in order to secure business under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Two units of Daimler, DaimlerChrysler Automotive Russia and Germany-based Daimler Export and Trade Finance, were accused of paying bribes to Russian and Croatian government officials to secure orders for the company's cars and trucks and thereby making millions of dollars in profits.
A US district court in Washington accepted guilty pleas from the company for an agreement on deferred prosecution that will allow it to avoid criminal prosecution as long as it cooperates with regulators.
The charges against Daimler's two units and a Chinese subsidiary, DaimlerChrysler China Ltd, now known as Daimler North East Asia Ltd, would be dropped if the company does not violate the same law in the next two years.