The company, known for its conservative reputation offering life insurance and mortgage lending products, confirmed this week that the €200,000 incident took place and said it had halted incentive trips, deeming them “no longer appropriate.” It said that the matter was under investigation.
The company acknowledged that it had purchased tickets to Brazil for 51 employees and contractors, but denied that a brothel visit had been an official part of the programme.
“We don’t support, organise or finance any activities that violate our code of conduct,” a spokesman said.
But according to a report in the Handelsblatt newspaper on Tuesday, senior company representative including key directors and a vice president had been spotted visited the brothel in Rio de Janeiro.
One official was even caught by police on a beach in the company of a prostitute, the newspaper reported.
The scandal has evoked comparisons to a 2007 orgy in Budapest sponsored by the Hamburg Mannheimer insurance group for its most successful sales representatives.
More accusations later emerged that representatives of the company, now owned by the Ergo insurance firm, had been spotted at other parties snorting cocaine – Ergo said it had only been salt.