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LONDON-DekaBank Deutsche Girozentale, Germany’s public sector bank and one of the country’s biggest real estate fund managers, has filed a complaint with prosecutors claiming that a former managing director of its real estate unit may have been involved in a bribery scandal. A statement by the bank says that Michael Koch, who headed Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH, had been forced to leave the company last week after the bank allegedly found “irregularities” in his work. Neither Koch nor his spokesman was available for comment.

The authorities are scrutinizing the activities of about 40 Frankfurt real estate fund managers, bankers, architects and lawyers who allegedly exchanged millions of euros in bribes. The investigation covers dozens of deals transacted between 1999 and 2003. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office now suspects those being investigated could have been part of a corruption network in operation at a national level for years.

“Former managing directors of fund companies are among those we are investigating. Further arrests and questioning of people may soon ensue,” says a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. He adds that the bribes in question were routinely in the “six-figure arena”. The spokesman also confirms the investigation had been widened to properties outside of Frankfurt.

Germany’s financial services regulator BaFin also announced it had joined an investigation led by the Frankfurt authorities into allegations of bribery and corruption in the real estate industry. BaFin’s concern is whether the alleged bribes had a financial impact on DekaBank or harmed investors.

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