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Brazil investigates Bilfinger over 2014 World Cup contracts

The Brazilian government is probing a Germany-based firm over allegations of bribery in connection with 7.1 million euros worth of World Cup 2014 contracts. The firm says it's investigating.

Allegations surfaced earlier this week that a German firm paid out bribes in order to secure contracts worth 24.3 million Brazilian reals (7.1 million euros, $7.75 million) in connection with World Cup 2014.

Bilfginer SE, a multinational construction and engineering firm based in Mannheim, said on Sunday

that it had launched an internal probe into the issue

following a report in Bild, a mass market German newspaper.

"Suspicions have now been substantiated; the investigation, however, is not yet complete," Bilfinger said in a statement. "Should the accuracy of the allegations be confirmed, Bilfinger will take action with regard to personnel and will initiate legal steps."

Bilfinger commissioned a report from auditors Ernst & Young, along with Deloitte and a specialized law office in Brazil.

Brazil's justice ministry announced an investigation a day later, on Monday. The allegations are that Bilfinger paid an unspecified amount in bribes to officials to secure lucrative contracts to provide integrated security and traffic control centers for host cities during last year's global football tournament.

The ministry told AFP that Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo would examine around $6.5 million worth of contracts involving alleged corruption.

Cardozo says he has urged Bilfinger to facilitate "all elements pointing to possible irregularities" surrounding contracts under review.

Sesge – Brazil's justice ministry branch that oversees mass sporting events – has called for a criminal investigation.

jar/msh (dpa, AFP)

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