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Report: Ford offices raided in Germany over fraud investigation


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Report: Ford offices raided in Germany over fraud investigation

by Chris Shunk (RSS feed) on Dec 15th 2010 at 8:58AM

Bloomberg is reporting that Ford's German offices in Cologne and Leverkusen have been raided, along with the homes of employees and suppliers. The raids come in the wake of fraud and bribery allegations aimed at some Ford employees and an unnamed supplier.

According to Cologne prosecutor spokesperson Christin Pohlen, the scam centers around Ford employees who are alleged to have accepted payments (read: bribes) from vendors in exchange for allowing them to overcharge the automaker. The recent raids are said to have stemmed from a similar investigation in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Ford spokesperson Bernd Meier tells Bloomberg that the alleged crimes resulted in Ford losing less than 10 million Euros. There has been one arrest so far, though prosecutors haven't yet revealed the names of anyone caught up in the investigation. Meier claims that Ford is fully backing the investigation and that the automaker is seeking damages against its (now former) employees.



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By Andrew Ganz

More than 100 German police officers made an unannounced visit to Ford Motor Company’s facilities in Cologne, Germany, earlier this week as part of an investigation into an alleged bribery scheme involving the automaker and some of its suppliers.

Police arrested at least one person in connection with the raids, which targeted the automaker’s Cologne assembly plant, some of its nearby offices, a supplier in Leverkusen and even some private homes. Ford builds its Ford Fiesta subcompact, as well as the European-market Ford Fusion (which shares nothing but a name with the North American Fusion), in Cologne. The area surrounding the plant also serves as Ford’s European headquarters, overseeing one of the automaker’s largest markets.

Authorities say that they are targeting individual employees, not necessarily the automaker itself, for the bribery allegations.

Reportedly, Ford employees – mainly those working in facilities management – received “material benefits” from suppliers in exchange for preferential treatment and even forged invoices charging the automaker for services or parts that it did not receive.

A Ford official said in a statement released to the media that the company has lost several million euros as a result of the bribes and that it will likely be seeking damages from parties implicated.



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