manroland Investigation Finds Irregularities, Possible Bribes

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By: E&P Staff

Printing equipment manufacturer manroland has discovered payment “irregularities” that may suggest bribes had been paid over a period dating from 2002.

The German pressmaker released a statement Sept. 21 in which it said an internal investigation connected with a tax audit, initiated by its executive board, and “involving external auditors and lawyers,” has discovered irregularities relating to sales commission payments.

The company said findings so far “have confirmed suspicions that commission payments were made without proof of services actually having been provided.” Investigators are focusing on certain cases involving Swiss subsidiary VOTRA S.A. from 2002 until 2007. The executive board notified public prosecutors of the irregularities and of the investigation’s progress to date.

“We have a responsibility to our business partners, customers and staff to make it clear that we will not tolerate legal violations,” Chairman Gerd Finkbeiner said in the statement. “This investigation has top priority, not least in light of our company’s realignment, which was announced last Friday.”

Reuters noted that it makes the third case in a year of possible corruption at one of German engineering and industrial firm MAN SE’s former units. Since selling majority ownership of manroland to Allianz Capital Partners in 2006, MAN has retained a 23% stake in the pressmaker.

Bribes paid in its commercial vehicles business cost MAN 151 million euros and cost three top executives, including CEO Hakan Samuelsson, their jobs last fall. Plant services firm MAN Ferrostaal discovered possible bribes and replaced its CEO in May.

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