German automaker Daimler pleaded guilty to U.S. charges of bribery and agreed to pay US$185 million to settle the affair, the U.S. government said Thursday.
The Justice Department said Daimler and three of its subsidiaries had resolved charges related to a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation into the company's worldwide sales practices.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon approved the settlement at a hearing Thursday in Washington.
"Daimler AG's Russian subsidiary DaimlerChrysler Automotive Russia SAO (DCAR), now known as Mercedes-Benz Russia SAO, and its German subsidiary, Export and Trade Finance GmbH (ETF), each pleaded guilty to criminal informations charging the companies with one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and one count of violating those provisions," the Justice Department said in a statement.
As part of the plea agreements, DCAR and ETF agreed to pay criminal fines of US$27.3 million and US$29.12 million, respectively, part of the US$93.6 million in criminal fines and penalties that Daimler and its subsidiaries paid in total, it said.
"These are significant and widespread violations," said prosecutor John Darden, speaking in federal court on behalf of the U.S. government.