Top luxury brand MERCEDES BENZ officially accused for bribing Romanian and Russian officials to get public contracts

DAIMLER CHRYSLER Group, of which MERCEDES BENZ is a member company pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as part of an agreement with prosecutors to resolve allegations that the German carmaker paid bribes to foreign officials. Lawyers for the units, DaimlerChrysler Automotive Russia in Moscow and Daimler Export and Trade Finance in Berlin, entered the pleas Thursday before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington. Officials in Romania, Turkey and Russia were offered luxury Mercedes Benz cars for public contracts.

Both subsidiaries pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the corrupt practices act and to violating its anti-bribery provisions. "We will do everything we can to maintain the highest compliance standards," Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.

Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks, last month agreed to pay a $93.6-million fine to settle the criminal probe, in exchange for which the U.S. would defer prosecution, according to papers filed in the Washington court. The charges against Daimler and a Chinese subsidiary would be dropped if the company does not violate the corrupt practices act in the next two years. In addition, Daimler agreed to be evaluated by an independent corporate monitor for three years.

CPP & Los Angeles TIMES