DT slams CEO bribery investigation

Deutsche Telekom has blasted German authorities’ handling of an investigation into fraud at its Hungarian subsidiary Magyar Telekom.
The German incumbent said it can’t understand why prosecutors are probing chief executive René Obermann’s involvement in the fraud, noting that it has co-operated fully with the investigation for the past five years.
But the firm said it would soon be able to prove Obermann’s innocence from the “groundless” allegations of bribery leveled against him.
“René Obermann has never been a subject or target of the investigation,” spokesman Mark Nierwetberg said in a statement mailed to TelecomsEurope.net, referring to an investigation by US authorities.
Nierwetberg explained that German prosecutors began investigating the Magyar fraud “in response to a request for legal assistance received from the United States.”
The German prosecutors raided the homes of Deutsche Telekom employees late August as part of their investigation, but spokesman Friedrich Apostel would not confirm if Obermann’s home was among those searched, Bloomberg reported.
Deutsche Telekom’s offices were also searched as part of the probe into the role of eight managers in an alleged fraud at Magyar Telekom, involving the award of contracts worth €24 million in 2005.
The telco flagged the problem in a filing with the US SEC in February, after an internal investigation could find no legitimate purpose for the contracts, Bloomberg said.
German prosecutors last week said they could re-open a separate investigation into Obermann’s predecessor Kai-Uwe Ricke’s involvement in a phone tapping scandal, after the firm’s former security chief claimed Ricke rubber stamped his actions.