German government questions Deutsche Bahn over fraud allegations
The German government will question the board of directors of Deutsche Bahn on the fraud allegations of two whistleblowers concerning the construction of 8.2 billion euros of a new station in Stuttgart.
The state-owned rail operator received repeated warnings in 2016 that the cost inflation of Germany’s largest infrastructure project was caused by blatant mismanagement and suspicion of corruption, the Financial Times reported last week. .
The Transport Ministry in Berlin told the FT on Monday that the federal government “is actively working to raise and critically challenge the reported events.”
Deutsche Bahn declined to comment on the Transportation Ministry’s statement. Last week, the company pledged “maximum transparency” and told the FT it would disclose the results of its internal investigation to “authorized parties”. The 40 billion euro company stressed that it had investigated “all available allegations regarding the matter based thoroughly on its internal standards and the law” and that no violation of the law had been made. noted.
One of the whistleblowers, a Deutsche Bahn veteran with more than two decades of experience in apportioning the costs of large investment projects, estimated in 2016 the financial loss of faults noted at 600 million euros. euros, according to a document consulted by the FT.
The second whistleblower was fired just a few weeks after a last meeting with investigators which took place in November 2016, documents seen by the FT show. Deutsche Bahn said the dismissal was unrelated to the whistleblower’s complaint – an opinion that was upheld by a court in Stuttgart in July.
Stuttgart criminal prosecutors told the FT last week that they were not aware of whistleblower complaints and were reviewing the case.
Winfried Hermann, Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg’s Green Minister of Transport last week criticized Deutsche Bahn for failing to inform the state of the whistleblowers’ allegations and their investigation.
âThe State provides significant funding [for the Stuttgart station] and has the right to receive full information, âsaid Hermann, adding that his ministry would formally request an explanation from the rail operator.