MAN offices raided on bribery suspicions

Authorities have raided the offices of German utility vehicle manufacturer MAN facilities on suspicion of bribery and corruption, the Munich public prosecutor’s office said.

MAN offices raided on bribery suspicions
Photo: DPA

The company said it would provide “full support in the clarification of the accusations” that it paid up to €16 million in hidden commissions at home and abroad to encourage sales of their vehicles.

Law enforcement officers searched some 39 offices of MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH and three apartments late on Tuesday. According to daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, several dozen officials searched the company headquarters in Munich, taking laptops and files with them.

The public prosecutor’s office believes that the company may have a system in place that allows salespeople in MAN dealerships to pay those responsible for making sales deals on buses and trucks. The bribes are meant to prevent companies from going to competitors.

Tax authorities discovered the payments during a company audit, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Wednesday, adding that those making payments – generally lower-level employees – were apparently unaware that they were illegal.

MAN said in a statement that company policy forbids such practices.

As one of the leading European manufacturers of trucks, buses, diesel motors and other large machinery, MAN employs some 51,300 workers.

The bribery scandal comes just a few months after Germany’s faith in some of its leading businesses was shaken by a sprawling corruption scandal at industrial giant Siemens. In December 2008 Siemens paid US and German authorities some €1 billion to settle accusations that it had run a bribery system to secure foreign contracts.

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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.