Siemens lays off staff for violations of rules in China

Siemens, faced with allegations that it paid bribes to operate in China, fired 20 employees in China last year for violations of rules, an AFP report said.

'In the last year, we actually separated ourselves from 20 employees in Siemens China which have been found to be related to things which we don't want to accept in the company,' said the company in a statement quoted by the AFP report.

The statement came after German magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported that about half of Siemens' business in China was tainted by bribery.

The AFP report also quoted Richard Hausmann, president of Siemens China, as saying that the company took a zero-tolerance approach to anyone who violates its internal policy, according to a report by the state-run China Daily.

'The allegation (that half of China operations are influenced by bribery) does not hold water,' the newspaper quoted Hausmann as saying.

Siemens now is beleaguered by claims in Germany that it tried to bribe key union officials to secure industrial peace, and had set up a massive slush-fund to obtain foreign contracts.

Some 400 million euros ($543 million) are said to have been used for bribes in telecommunications contracts.

The company has appointed New York-based law firm Debevoise and Plimpton to carry out internal investigations and probes in China were launched in June, the AFP report further said.