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The Hunt For The 'Siemens 8'

Despite a federal judge's order for an update by May 1, there's no record of the DOJ filing a status report about the eight former Siemens executives and agents indicted in December last year.

The defendants -- all non-U.S. citizens living outside the United States -- were charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and substantive wire fraud.

Their indictment followed criticism in the media and Congress that the DOJ wasn't prosecuting individuals from big companies that resolve FCPA cases.

The defendants live in Germany, Switzerland, or Argentina. They can't be tried in the U.S. for criminal offenses unless they voluntarily appear in a U.S. court or are arrested overseas and extradited to the federal court in Manhattan where the indictment was filed.

Six of the defendants also face civil charges brought by the SEC for bribing government officials in Argentina.

In December last year, the DOJ told Judge Denise L. Cote:

Yesterday, a grand jury in this District [the Southern District of New York, Foley Square] returned the enclosed Indictment and the case was assigned to Your Honor. The defendants in this case all reside overseas and none of the defendants is currently in custody. As such, none of the defendants will be arraigned in the immediate future. The Government will keep the Court apprised of any developments regarding the defendants' extradition.

Judge Cote then told the DOJ to file a status letter by May 1, 2012. The court's docket doesn't show any filing by the DOJ in response to the judge's order.

Siemens AG's settlement in December 2008 with the DOJ and SEC for $800 million is still the biggest FCPA case of all time. Siemens is based in Germany. Its subsidiary in Argentina was named in the 2008 enforcement action.

The defendants are Uriel Sharef, Herbert Steffen, Andres Truppel, Ulrich Bock, Eberhard Reichert, Stephan Signer, Carlos Sergi, and Miguel Czysch.

They allegedly bribed a series of Argentine government officials beginning in 1994 for ten years to win a billion dollar contract to produce national identity cards. After the contract was terminated, they paid bribes to reinstate it. They also paid further bribes to suppress evidence when the termination of the contract was being arbitrated.

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