(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Tel Aviv District Court sentenced five former senior employees of the Israel Electric Company who plead guilty to taking millions of shekels of bribes from the German engineering company Siemens.
The five were convicted of taking bribes, fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering from 2001-2002. They were sentenced to terms ranging from 28 to 49 months in a plea deal. The Siemens company admitted to dolling out bribes to ensure the engineering company would win IEC tenders to supply turbines. In May Siemens agreed to pay the Israeli State Treasury NIS 160 million and to have its business in Israel be monitored.
Among the five convicted are IEC senior deputy director general David Kohn, former senior deputy CEO Yakov Hain, former engineering and planning department director Yona Schweitzer, former engineering and planning department deputy director Haim Bar-Ner, and former planning department departmental head Zvi Eyal.
In its ruling the court said the case highlights “a culture of deep corruption that permeated the electricity company at the highest levels.”
"Decisions concerning tenders worth hundreds of millions of dollars, which have significant public and social implications, were received in the shadow of large bribes paid by Siemens systematically to senior IEC officials,” the court said.
Siemens has said it plans to continue its business in Israel on a significant scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.
Siemens, the largest engineering company Israel, has been embroiled in multiple international corruption scandals. In September, Andres Truppe, the former chief financial officer of Siemens Argentina pled guilty to participating in a bribery scheme numbering in the tens millions of dollars. Reuters contributed to this report.