updated 12/26/2006 11:28:50 AM ET 2006-12-26T16:28:50

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is aiding DaimlerChrysler AG in its internal investigation of bribery allegations involving company employees, a company spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

DaimlerChrysler spokesman Han Tjan said the German-American automaker has made an internal announcement that it hired Freeh as an "outside consultant" in the investigation. Freeh's hiring was reported Tuesday by The Detroit News.

Freeh is a member of the Gavel Consulting Group, which consists of former federal judges "who can provide strategic advice to corporations and law firms on anticipated actions in business, litigation and investigations," according to the group's Web site.

A message seeking comment from Freeh was left Tuesday with the Gavel Consulting Group.

Tjan declined to comment further on either Freeh's role or the company's investigation.

"We stress very much that we take this very seriously and we are determined to operate all our businesses with the highest ethical standards," Tjan said.

In 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an inquiry after a DaimlerChrysler employee said he was fired for complaining that the company was using secret bank accounts to bribe government officials.

In 2005, DaimlerChrysler acknowledged that the Justice Department was investigating whether the company had paid bribes to foreign officials with the knowledge of its senior executives. The company said it is continuing to cooperate with the investigations.

In March, the automaker said an internal investigation of bribery claims found evidence of "improper payments" in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. It said several employees had been dismissed or suspended.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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