BASF CEO ‘angry and disappointed’ over alleged Ludwigshafen fraud

25 February 2010 17:57  [Source: ICIS news]

LUDWIGSHAFEN (ICIS news)--BASF’s CEO said on Thursday that he was angry and disappointed over the fraud allegations at the company's main Ludwigshafen site in Germany.

Six employees are being investigated for allegedly accepting bribes from an unnamed company to overstate invoices from a supplier of scaffolding and pipes. BASF claims it has lost about €1m ($1.35m) due to the alleged fraud.

“We have zero tolerance for corruption, zero tolerance. We will scrutinise and investigate all the details with all fairness due, and I very much hope nothing else will be unearthed,” Jurgen Hambrecht said at the company’s full-year results announcement.

Hambrecht would not go into the details of the investigation as it was ongoing. German prosecutors' investigations into the case could take a year.

“On the other hand, I have to say there are some external assessments that said that this corruption case was a consequence of our purchasing policy - now this is really insidious and goes against BASF and our employees and goes against many of our contractors who are happy to co-operate with BASF,” he added.

Of the six employees, one has been sacked by the company and four have been suspended. Internal investigations are expected to be completed in mid-2010.

Earlier on Thursday, BASF swung to a net profit of €455m in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to a loss of €313m in the year earlier period.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Franco Capaldo
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