November 3, 2004
DaimlerChrysler FCPA Investigation
A report in the Detroit Free Press discusses an SEC investigation of possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by DaimlerChrysler AG (DCX) (Suit Says Secret Accounts at DCX Used for Bribes, Sarah A. Webster, Oct. 29, 2004). The investigation was triggered by a whistleblower lawsuit filed in U.S District Court (E.D. Mich.) by a former accountant for DCX who alleges he learned that the company maintained 40 bank accounts to bribe officials of foreign governments. The former employee contends that, after reporting the misconduct to a senior DCX officer, he received the worst performance appraisal of his career, and he was terminated from the company in early 2004.
While the Big Three automakers largely avoided being caught up in the broad investigations of corporate misconduct of the past few years, DCX now joins Ford and General Motors as the subjects of SEC investigations. Unlike the DCX investigation, the SEC inquiry involving Ford and General Motors concerns how they account for their pension liabilities, and does not appear to arise from any specific allegations of misconduct by the companies at this time. (ph)