Speaking from his jail cell where he is being held as a suspect, Wilhelm Schelsky, the former long-time head of the AUB, told Stern magazine through his lawyer that the plan had come from the central management board of Siemens.
In his first public comments since the scandal broke in February, Mr Schelsky is quoted as saying: "I was supposed to build up an umbrella organisation with the money. And that is what I did . . . I was secretly employed as a lobbyist for Siemens. There was a clear order from the top of the company."
Mr Schelsky's comments further raise the pressure on Siemens and its management. Siemens is suspected of helping finance the AUB to build a counterweight to its main IG Metall union. The AUB affair is separate from a financially far bigger bribery investigation into several divisions of Siemens.
Siemens declined to comment on Mr Schelsky's claims but said it was co-operating with authorities in both cases to clear up the matter as quickly as possible. It has recently lost both its chief executive and chairman as a result of the scandals. Both deny any wrongdoing. Johannes Feldmayer, a management board member, is a suspect in the AUB affair and was briefly remanded in custody earlier this year. He is currently on leave from Siemens at his own request and his contract will not be renewed at the end of the year.
Mr Feldmayer's lawyer said his client denied any wrongdoing and that the payments to Mr Schelsky and the AUB dated back to the 1980s - well before Mr Feldmayer had signed a contract with him in 2001.
Mr Schelsky is being investigated over various tax offences and as an accomplice to breach of trust but has not been charged.
Siemens' senior management sanctioned the funding of an alternative labour organisation to the German industrial group's main trade union, according to claims made by the former head of the rival union.
- 185 Corruption