Raid made on Ford of Europe’s headquarters in Cologne over bribery probe

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 14, 2010

About 100 police officers raided Ford of Europe's headquarters in Cologne earlier this week in relation to an investigation on a bribery scheme that involves Ford’s employees and suppliers.

Ford has been cooperating with the probe since it started in September. Cologne prosecutor Christina Pohlen said that the target of the raid were the individual employees and not the automaker itself.

The probe was opened over claims that Ford workers accepted bribes from third-party contractors and other would-be suppliers. There have previously been raids conducted in the offices of a company in nearby Leverkusen as well as 30 other sites, including private homes.

So far, one arrest has been made. Cologne prosecutors started the probe last September following investigations at another Ford plant in Saarbruecken.

Material benefits were alleged to have been received by Ford employees working in a facilities-management department in exchange for favors or having fraudulent invoices drafted from them.

The gifts had supposedly come from companies that had contracts with the carmaker or were seeking them.

Ford estimated that the corruption scheme had cost it several million euros. A Ford spokesman said that it is planning to seek damages from those found guilty of participating in the alleged scheme.

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