(Adds comment from Siemens)
JERUSALEM, July 14 (Reuters) - The Israel Securities Authority said on Tuesday it had evidence that German industrial group Siemens paid about $20 million in bribes to officials at state-owned Israel Electric Corp (IEC) to win contracts from 2000 to 2005.
After six years of investigating, the authority passed on its findings to the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s office, which will decide whether to bring charges against a number of former Siemens and IEC executives.
The alleged payments to IEC, intended to help Siemens win a gas turbine tender and other contracts, were part of a broader case in which Siemens handed out $1.4 billion in bribes to advance its business globally, the authority said.
Siemens has sought to recover damages from 11 former top managers and supervisory board members for failing to stop illegal practices and bribery that forced it to pay more than $1.3 billion to settle corruption probes in the United States and Germany in 2008.
In this instance, the money is believed to have passed through a former CEO of Siemens in Israel and his brother-in-law by way of foreign bank accounts and on to at least six former IEC executives, the authority said.
“This is a complex case in which the suspects acted very cleverly and disguised the transfer route of the bribery money through bank accounts in various places around the world,” it said in a statement.
Siemens declined to comment on “ongoing proceedings” and said it is cooperating with the authorities.
IEC said it has “zero tolerance” for corruption and welcomed progress in the Siemens case. It called on law enforcement authorities to complete the proceedings as quickly as possible. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Mark Potter and Jason Neely)