Ten years ago a colossal corruption scandal involving Siemens, one of the world’s largest electrical engineering companies, shocked the world. The scale of it marked it out as the biggest corruption case of the time. A few years later, Linda Thomsen, director at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) described the pattern of bribery in the company as “unprecedented in scale and geographic reach. The corruption involved more than $1.4bn in bribes to government officials in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.” How did it happen and why is it important to keep this case in mind? Prior to the corruption scandal, the reputation of Siemens was extremely good. It was renowned for its technological products and reliable services in telecommunications, power, transportation and medical equipment. It was common to see articles featuring its activities in remote areas, developing new high quality products and winning competitive bids. So the world was taken by surp...

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