BMW kickback inquiry widens, suppliers named

7th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 October 2005, MUNICH - German prosecutors said Friday that sales staff of two more suppliers were suspected of paying kickbacks to a BMW purchasing manager who is again in custody as an inquiry into bribery at the car company widens.

7 October 2005

MUNICH - German prosecutors said Friday that sales staff of two more suppliers were suspected of paying kickbacks to a BMW purchasing manager who is again in custody as an inquiry into bribery at the car company widens.

Senior prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld said the BMW buyer, who has been sacked, was suspected of taking backhanders to steer orders to Grammer, a supplier of headrests and armrests, and Draexlmaier, a supplier of centre consoles and door trims.

He said the amounts involved were 250,000 U.S. dollars and 200,000 dollars. The buyer headed a purchasing office at the Bavarian carmaker, which assembles its cars from bespoke parts made by hundreds of small suppliers.

Staff at other top companies such as VW and Infineon have been named this year as Germany tackles corruption in its corporate bureaucracies, sometimes using information from tax audits.

The same BMW buyer was first arrested in July after evidence that he took 100,000 dollars from another German supplier, but he was later released on bail. Schmidt-Sommerfeld said an employee of that client, trim supplier Neuensalzer, was still in custody.

This week two Grammer staff were arrested, but the prosecutor declined to identify a further arrested person.

Grammer said it could not comment until an internal audit was completed. At Draexlmaier, nobody was available for comment.

A BMW spokeswoman said, "We have an interest in these irregularities being quickly and fully investigated.

She said BMW would "obviously" have cracked down earlier if it had had any knowledge of what had been going on. The company's interest was to stop such "shady dealings". She said the purchaser was dismissed in July.

DPA

Subject: German news

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