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Authorities investigate corruption scandal at Berlin's LaGeSo refugee center

A senior employee and a security manager at the main Berlin refugee center have been arrested on charges of corruption. Media reports suggested employees at the center regularly received bribes.

German media reported Thursday that Berlin's public prosecutor was looking into a possible corruption case at Berlin's State Office for Health and Social Affairs - known as LaGeSo in German.

Local public broadcaster RBB reported that authorities arrested a senior LaGeSo official and the manager of the company in charge of security. According to the mass-market "Bild" newspaper, police searched offices and private apartments belonging to the men and seized 51,000 euros ($56,200) as well as car.

Authorities suspect the LaGeSo official had frequently accepted between 5,000 euros and 10,000 euros in bribes from the security company. In return, the official ensured that the company would be contracted to provide security for the center.

"The State Office and the Senate Department support the investigating authorities fully in their efforts to clear up this matter," a LaGeSo spokesperson told "Bild."

LaGeSo has gained widespread media attention in recent months for what is widely regarded as its inefficient and bureaucratic handling of refugees, which has led to long lines, overcrowding of refugee homes and slow processing of asylum applications.

blc/sms (AFP, dpa)

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