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Deutsche Telekom CEO faces bribery probe

The Local · 15 Sep 2010, 11:08

Published: 15 Sep 2010 11:08 GMT+02:00

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The probe was launched after US authorities asked German officials to aid their own inquiry, which also includes suspects who are not employed by Deutsche Telekom, the company said in a statement released late on Tuesday.

Allegations include links to a meeting with the head of Makedonski Telekom (MakTel) in 2005, during which the company was paid a dividend on the condition that the Macedonian telecommunications market remain closed to other competitors.

This has also been connected to other bribery payments by a third party, the company said.

Obermann denies any wrongdoing, and Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telecommunications company, said it is cooperating with investigators.

Obermann also said corruption is not tolerated within the company and was not under suspicion of wrongdoing while already working with US authorities for the last four years.

Story continues below…


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

23:59 September 15, 2010 by lenny van
I've lived as a native in four western countries long enough to qualify to get a passport in each. Sadly, I found that Germany is clearly the most dishonest and corrupt country compared with the United States, England and Canada. This is especially true of the big business corporations and Deutsche Telekom is well out in front. In my opinion the way they treat their customers is bordering on being criminal. As a consumer, it is the worst company that I ever had the misfortune to deal with and I have never heard so many stories of customers being lied to, harassed and threatened. I assume that its corporate culture extends to its relationships with other corporations.
10:47 September 16, 2010 by concerned4u
I fully agree to Lenny Van. Deutche Telekom treat their customers as if they are criminals. Though not releveant, I suffered when,to move from one apartment to another they don't have the proper procedure (written format) or what ever. At the end the subscriber suffers.
01:14 September 17, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Echoing the previous comments, Deutche Telekom has been a culture of corruption since the early 90s, as far as my own experience goes. In those days you couldn't even get an itemized bill from them without paying a surcharge, thus they could charge their customers whatever they wanted without having to verify the transactions. Regulation coupled with free market competition helped to alleviate that problem, but the corruption morphed into different forms. I find it interesting that the investigation was commenced by the US and not by Germany. T-Mobile is a big player in the US, and bribery of foreign officials to obtain a competitive advantage is ... shall we say "frowned upon" ... under US law.
01:47 September 18, 2010 by lenny van
Perhaps my experience with Deutsche Telekom can be instructive. When I was a customer of Deutsche Telekom, I ordered DSL soon after it appeared on the market. I had it installed by a professional and the appropriate telephone calls were made to DT to register and activate the service.

On the first two billings that I received after the installation, I was charged by the amount of bytes that I used, rather than on the flat rate. I informed the service representatives by telephone, but the subsequent billing was the same. Because the amount that I had paid for what should have been flat rate internet use for a couple of months was over 1000 €, I instructed my bank to reclaim the payments. I wrote a polite letter to DT, explaining that when they corrected my bill, I would pay them what I actually owed them.

I received a form letter back, which stated in essence that DT doesn¦#39;t make mistakes, so I must have made a mistake. This was accompanied by the usual warning of what the company would do to me if they didn¦#39;t get their money by a given date, which is such a common practice in Germany. There was absolutely no mention of the problem that I had written about., which indicated to me that a computer had simply automatically inserted my name and address in DT¦#39;s ¦quot;first response¦quot; letter. I tried a second, not so polite letter and DT responded by blocking my internet. I then went to the consumer protection agency and paid the 5 € consultation fee. I was told that half of the complaints that the agency receives has to do with DT and that they couldn¦#39;t do anything to help me. So, I had to go to internet cafes.

My next letter to DT was more aggressive. DT responded this time by blocking my outgoing telephone calls. So, I had to use pay phones. The following month, DT blocked my incoming calls, so I got a mobile telephone. I also began to get threatening letters from DT¦#39;s infamous ¦quot; lawyer* in Heidelberg, but I am quite certain that the ¦quot;lawyer¦quot; was just the computer and that my name and address and the money that they claimed I owed them was automatically inserted into the letter. Finally, I got a letter stating that my contract had cancelled and that DT was suing me. I continued to receive letters from Heidelberg for three or four months. In addition to the now very familiar threats, each subsequent letter offered to settle for a lesser amount.

Eventually, I was notified that a court hearing was scheduled in a small town near Bonn. I acknowledged this and stated my intention to defend myself. shortly thereafter, I rejected DT¦#39;s ¦quot;final¦quot; offer to to settle for a few hundred dollars. A couple of days before the hearing, DT advised me that it was dropping the lawsuit against me. I objected because I wanted a complete investigation by a Gutachter with the intention of suing DT for damages, but the court cancelled the hearing.

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