EADS offices raided in corruption probe

Authorities raided offices and homes across Germany associated with European aerospace giant EADS, on Tuesday, as a decade-long investigation into bribery and corruption within the company reached a new high.

EADS offices raided in corruption probe
Photo: DPA

A Vienna state prosecutor confirmed on Wednesday that there had been raids in several EADS offices around Munich, as well as at the homes of lobbyists, on the grounds of corruption concerning a €2 billion deal involving the sale of fighter jets to Austria, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Wednesday.

Bribes worth around €180 million are thought to have been exchanged between a network of companies and lobbyists working for EADS – which despite confirming the investigation and the raids, refused to comment further.

Allegations of money laundering are also on the table, the paper added.

The politically controversial purchase of fighter jets by Austria was agreed back in 2002. Investigations there have been active for years.

“I can confirm that we have searched several sites in Germany as part of a corruption inquiry,” said Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, public prosecutor in Munich. He added that “several people” were under suspicion but no arrest warrants had been issued.

Authorities also carried out raids on suspects in Switzerland and Austria.

The Local/ AFP/jcw

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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.