Monday, August 14, 2006

Ex-Infineon Executive Admits Accepting Bribes

In a corruption scandal linked to German semiconductor firm Infineon, former executive Andreas von Zitzewitz has admitted to a Munich court that he accepted bribes in return for business favors.

Zitzewitz told the court that he received between 70,000 and 100,000 euros ($89,000-127,000) in cash from Udo Schneider, managing director of Swiss sports sponsoring firm BF Consulting, in return for business favors.

Schneider has been charged with spending a total of 260,000 euros on bribes to several Infineon managers, in order to secure lucrative advertising contracts for BF Consulting in the field of motor sports.

Likewise, Zitzewitz is under investigation for accepting bribes in return for persuading motor sports companies to use Schneider's agency.

"In principle, I was always uncomfortable, but on the other hand, I was happy about the money," Zitzewitz said. During the time that he took the bribes, Zitzewitz's gross income was in the region of 500,000 euros a year.

The ex-Infineon manager also pointed the finger at former colleague Harald Eggers, another ex-manager whom Zitzewitz said also took bribes from Schneider.

Zitzewitz resigned last July amid speculation of financial impropriety at Infineon.

Infineon is not under investigation and has pledged to cooperate fully with the authorities. It also terminated all motor sports sponsorships in March 2004, following the departure of former CEO Ulrich Schumacher.

DW staff (dc)

Deutsche Welle 08/2006