The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday that the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB International (DBI) had spent €315,000 in bribes to get contracts just in Greece, and that similar business had been conducted in other countries.
Now the firm has closed down its business in Greece, and is pulling out of Algeria, Libya, Ruanda and Thailand. This dramatic move follows revelations by the Frankfurt public prosecutor, the paper said. These suggest that DBI had energetically bribed its way to contracts over at least the last ten years.
Gerd Becht, DBI manager responsible for compliance and law, said the firm had learned from the investigation and had "withdrawn from business in many countries with known corruption risks."
"Deep cuts and a general new start were necessary," he added. The more than 30 Bahn employees who had been fired included managers, project managers and other middle managers, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said.
A row of contracts with dubious consultant firms had also been cancelled, while Bahn offices in foreign countries had been instructed to only have a maximum of €500 worth of local currency in petty cash. Cash payment of more than €100 for anything had been banned, the paper said.
The Frankfurt prosecutor is investigating 37 people, most of them former DBI employees, but also several from at least one German DBI partner engineering firm.