Suspects in Daimler-Mercedes bribery case to face criminal trial

Egypt's Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud has decided to refer to a criminal court several suspects accused of receiving bribes from Mercedes Benz, a subsidiary of German automobile manufacturer Daimler, in return for business deals.

A statement issued by Mahmoud's office said that the list of suspects accused of taking bribes includes Abdel Hamid Wasfi, former director of a firm affiliated to the Arab Industrialization Organization (AIO), his wife Zeinat Ibrahim, and his successor, Madani Deif Allah.

Investigations have revealed that Wasfi illicitly obtained around one millon Deutsche Marks, as well as nearly 522,000 euros from Daimler, the German company that owns the Mercedes Benz brand, in return for selling its products to the company he was running.

They also revealed that the third suspect, while heading the firm, illicitly received 2 percent of the value of Daimler's sales to his company in return for selling the products to the organization he was managing.

In March 2010, the US government accused Daimler and three subsidiary firms of offering bribes to officials in 22 countries, including Egypt, over ten years, in return for sales contracts.

The value of the bribes amounted to tens of billions of dollars, the US authorities said. They were taken by officials in 22 states, including Egypt, Russia, China, Turkey, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Iraq.

According to a list of accusations announced by the US Justice Department, the German company offered the bribes for foreign officials during the period 1998-2008.

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