Criminal prosecutors review Deutsche Bahn fraud allegations

Prosecutors in Stuttgart are investigating allegations of fraud in connection with two Deutsche Bahn prosecutors.

The Financial Times Thursday report that a German railroad operator has repeatedly received warnings that rising prices for the new Stuttgart railway project were due to poor performance and suspected corruption.

Critics told FT they did not know what had been said and are now reviewing it. If prosecutors find that there is a reasonable suspicion of possible crimes, they may initiate a criminal investigation in Germany.

The redevelopment of the stations, called Stuttgart 21, is Germany’s largest project; its price has risen from € 2.5bn to € 8.2bn.

One of the announcers – an expert in budgeting – described the company’s financial woes as a result of the shortcomings he saw amounting to € 600m. The employee, who is still working at Deutsche Bahn, also claimed that donors had been deliberately misled by the company.

Winfried Hermann, Green Transport Minister for the Baden-Württemberg government, criticized Deutsche Bahn for failing to inform the government of the allegations or an internal investigation. “The government is paying a lot of money and should receive more,” he said, adding that his ministry would ask the train driver to explain.

Deutsche Bahn on Thursday promised “significant coverage” and told FT to disclose the results of its internal investigation to “legitimate parties”. The € 40bn company emphasized that it had investigated “all available information related to the matter in accordance with its internal standards and regulations” and that no violations were found.

One of the defendants was fired in December 2016 by Deutsche Bahn for misconduct while investigations into the allegations continue. The company said the dismissal was not in line with the plaintiff’s complaint – a decision that was confirmed in court.

The deputy informant abruptly stopped communicating with law enforcement officials, fearing retaliation and believes there was no desire to investigate the allegations further, according to experts.

Transparency International, an anti-corruption group of which Deutsche Bahn is a member, called for a “speed and transparency”.

“We expect from our members that the identity of the perpetrators be promptly investigated,” Transparency International said, adding that it also expects staff members who report potential wrongdoing to be protected from retaliation.

Fabio De Masi, a former MP who is now an independent investigator on white law, said the Stuttgart 21 revelation was “another shame” in Germany and urged parliament to summon transport minister Andreas Scheuer and Deutsche Bahn Ronald chief. Pofalla on this subject. “I hope the prosecution resolves this matter,” he said.

Dieter Reicherter, a retired magistrate and state attorney who works among Stuttgart 21 opposition groups, said the cases were “numerous” and needed to be investigated urgently.

The federal transport ministry, which oversees Deutsche Bahn, did not respond to FT’s request for comment.

Additional reports of Guy Chazan in Berlin

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