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Second man sentenced in TV station fraud

A former Berlin film company executive has received a suspended sentence for his part in stealing millions of euros from the children's television network KiKa.

Second man sentenced in TV station fraud
Photo: DPA

The 43-year-old former manager of the Kopp Film company was convicted of complicity in the €4.6 million bribery and embezzlement scandal that took place between 2005 and 2010. He is said to have submitted more than 60 false invoices to a trusted KiKa executive who would then pay the bills but keep a cut for himself.

The man was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to make a regular contribution to a cancer charity during his four years of probation. But the judge said the KiKa exec – sentenced last year to more than five years in prison – had been the real mastermind behind the scheme.

As a mitigating factor in the sentence, the judge cited the fact that the 43-year-old had gone to authorities to admit his crimes himself as he started feeling pressure from the exec to deepen the scale of the fraud.

He also noted that the manager of the now defunct film company had used much of the money he stole to help shore up his dying firm’s financial situation.

The financial scandal exposed huge gaps in the accounting practices of KiKa and its parent, public broadcaster MDR, that allowed the fraud to be perpetuated for years.

Last year, MDR’s head said the invoices has been so detailed that it was almost impossible for someone who hadn’t been directly involved in the channel’s production activities to spot the scheme.

He vowed to recover as much cash as possible and institute controls to prevent similar fraud in the future.

The Local/mdm

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MEDIA

Head of German public broadcaster quits over sleaze allegations

A prominent German journalist on Thursday resigned as chair of the board of Germany's ARD broadcaster after being accused of awarding controversial consultancy contracts and misusing public funds.

Head of German public broadcaster quits over sleaze allegations

“The public discussion about decisions and procedures… that fall within my area of responsibility has now extended to ARD as a whole,” Patricia Schlesinger said in a statement.    

Schlesinger is the head of Berlin radio station RBB, a regional member of the ARD network – one of the world’s biggest TV and radio networks.    

The 61-year-old took up the chairmanship of the ARD network earlier this year under a rotational system.  

 According to ARD, Schlesigner has been under fire over consultancy contracts awarded at RBB, which she has headed since 2016.    

Some German media have also accused her of using a company car for private trips and paying for meals at home with licence fee money.    

Schlesinger said she was giving up her chairmanship of ARD in order to help “shed light on the accusations.”    

ARD has an annual budget of almost 7 billion euros, financed mainly by a licence fee.    

It employs around 23,000 people at nine regional channels, which also produce national programmes, and one channel aimed at an international audience. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s state leaders give green light to raise TV tax

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