FRANKFURT, March 20 (Reuters) - German prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into suspected breach of trust, tax fraud and corruption at utility EnBW, Peter Lintz of the public prosecutors’ office in Mannheim said on Tuesday.
His comments confirmed statements published earlier by German business daily Handelsblatt. He added a decision on whether investigation proceedings would be opened was not to be expected before Easter.
EnBW declined comment. “We cannot comment on it because we have no knowledge about it,” an EnBW spokesman said about the prosecutors’ statement.
The investigation builds on a case against EnBW which was brought to the Karlsruhe district court in January by two Swiss companies owned by Russian lobbyist Andrey Bykov, claiming more than 120 million euros ($159 million) from EnBW.
The two companies said they were due the money for carrying out lobbying work for EnBW in Russia to support efforts to secure stakes in Siberian gas fields, the court said at the time.
EnBW, in turn, said the two companies had been hired for the supply of uranium among other tasks, which they failed to deliver and that EnBW is now claiming back the money through arbitration proceedings. ($1 = 0.7552 euro) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Sabine Wollrab; Editing by David Holmes)