HSH Nordbank, a German state-owned bank that describes itself as the world's biggest lender to ship owners, is now facing allegations that it bribed Turkish judges to win a court case against a shipping company.
Rough times ahead for state-owned HSH Nordbank
Media reports suggest one of Germany's largest state-controlled banks is suspected of bribing Turkish judges via an intermediary to win a court case against a shipping company.
The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Saturday, December 4, that HSH Nordbank had already informed police of possible wrong-doing, after indications of corruption turned up during a smaller-scale investigation conducted months ago.
The bank is suspected of bribing Turkish justices to avoid compensation payments in a long-running case with a Turkish ship owner.
The SZ quoted "board sources" and leaked internal documents which disclosed police were called in to scrutinize the bank's dealings with Prevent, a security firm.
The weekly news magazine Der Spiegel claimed the board was "well aware" of a large sum - 3.5 million euros ($4.6 million) - paid to Prevent to conduct "off-the-record talks over its network with political and business figures and break the perceived bias."
HSH Nordbank was rocked by scandal earlier this year after allegations emerged that it had spied on workers and government officials in Hamburg and Schleswig Holstein, the bank's two main stakeholders.
The bank's chief executive, Dirk Jens Nonnenmacher, was asked last month to leave over the affair. He had also been investigated by prosecutors for risky investments that led to the bank losing millions of euros.
The institution is emerging from a financially rocky period brought on by the global financial crisis. The northern German states Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein provided the bank with 3 billion euros in capital and 10 billion euros in guarantees.
Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Toma Tasovac