The apparent suicide of Heinz-Joachim Neuburger, former chief financial officer of Siemens, this week is still shrouded in mystery. The man was found dead under a railroad bridge in Munich, says one source. The Munich police confirmed that a person apparently jumped from Grosshesseloher Bridge, but they did not disclose the identity of that person or confirm if it was indeed Neuburger. The German press, for the most part has said that he was found dead at his home without clarifying how the suicide took place.
Siemens released a statement to employees following the death of the man who held the post of CFO from 1997-2006. It stated:
“Mr. Neuburger was held in great esteem and high regard as a financial expert both in and outside the company. Siemens owes much to him and is extremely grateful for his services to our company.”
Those close to Neuburger are puzzled by the suicide because he had recently settled a lawsuit filed against him by the company on bribery charges. He had been found guilty of paying bribes to procure contracts in foreign countries, including Greece.
Despite charges, Neuburger insisted on his innocence until the end. He contested that he had failed to combat corruption in the company. For this reason, he was the last of nine former executives to reach a settlement that called him to pay 2.5 million euros (less than what Siemens owed him in pension payments and other compensations). The settlement had been approved at a January 27 annual meeting.
Neuburger is survived by a wife and two grown daughters from a previous marriage.
The Siemens bribery scandal in Greece was a corruption and bribery scandal over deals between Siemens AG and Greek government officials during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens concerning security systems and other purchases by the country’s telecommunications provider in the 1990s. It is alleged that the bribes could have been as high as 100 milion euros to procure state contracts. A few socialist PASOK members acting as individuals are believed to have been involved though no evidence has come to light. A Greek prosecutor filed charges on July 1, 2008, for money laundering and bribery. Former transport and communications minister in 1998, Tasos Mantelis, admitted that 200,000 German marks were deposited in a Swiss bank account from Siemens in 1998, allegedly for funding his election campaign. A further deposit of 250,000 German marks was made to the same bank account in 2000 which Mantelis claims is from an unknown source.