[FRANKFURT] Heinz-Joachim Neubuerger, a former Siemens finance chief, has committed suicide, a friend told Reuters, two months after agreeing a settlement with the company over his role in one of Germany's biggest corporate bribery scandals.
Neubuerger, who was 62, was CFO of the German industrial group from 1998 until 2006, during which time Siemens was later exposed as having run an elaborate bribery network, paying more than US$1 billion in kickbacks to win contracts worldwide.
He was questioned during the investigation, which engulfed the company for more than two years and cost the jobs of its top executives and chairman, as well as more than US$1.3 billion in payments to settle lawsuits.
"This seven-year ordeal broke him," the friend said.
"He simply couldn't go on any longer."
Neubuerger denied involvement in the affair but never found another job at the same level as his role at Siemens. He went on to be managing director of KKR Guernsey for two years before quitting to become an independent management consultant.
In December, he finally reached an agreement to pay Siemens 2.5 million euros (US$2.9 million) to settle a civil suit over his role in the bribery scandal. Siemens had initially demanded 15 million.
Deutsche Boerse, where Neubuerger was on the supervisory board, said in a statement: "We are deeply shocked at the news of the death of our supervisory board member Heinz-Joachim Neubuerger."
"We will miss him as a person and as a board member."