Dockyard staff suspected of Angola kickbacks

Other News Materials 9 February 2008 20:08 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Executives at Germany's main warship-building company are being investigated over claims that they offered kickbacks in Angola for an order, a prosecutor said Saturday.

Although no ships have yet been ordered, a corruption inquiry is under way against ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) staff involved in the tender, according to Arno Neukirchen, a prosecutor in Dusseldorf.

He said the inquiry was a spinoff from another investigation a year ago into a warship sale to South Africa. Police followed up hints they read in seized documents.

The weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said TKMS offices had been searched by police in the cities of Hamburg and Essen on December 19.

TKMS had tendered to supply a corvette and three coastal patrol boats worth 750 million euros (1.1 billion dollars) to Angola under a deal that had been initiated by the Angolan military with a letter of intent on February 22, 2006.

Spiegel said the executives were suspected of offering military officers or politicians a payoff funded from earnings if the German company obtained the order.

Since 1998, Germany has banned attempts to corrupt foreign officials.

Spiegel said TKMS had confirmed there was an inquiry under way, but added that an internal review, backed by outside advisers, suggested the claims would not stand up.