The parent of logistics provider Schenker is investigating possible accounting fraud at its Belgium operation the company says could amount to tens of millions of dollars.
Officials at Schenker, a sister company of Bax Global and one of the world's largest logistics operators, confirmed the investigation and said the company is demanding information from its local management in Belgium.
"Management personnel in Antwerp have to explain to us what happened to unaccounted amounts in the double-digit millions, in a case that took place over a longer period of time," Chief Compliance Officer Wolfgang Schaupensteiner said in a statement released by the company.
The company insists the accounting involved only intra-company accounts and there was "no harm to customers."
"Our customers are not affected in any way by the damages that were incurred," said Norbert Bensel, head of DB Schenker, owned by German railway Deutsche Bahn. "This is solely an internal matter that only impacts DB Schenker."
The company said it has created a 28-member compliance team headed by Schaupensteiner to follow up on tips about corruption and to train workers to prevent corruption.
The investigation at Schenker follows a series of criminal investigations at freight transport providers around the globe that have roiled the logistics industry. Panalpina this year withdrew from Nigeria after a U.S. government investigation of alleged bribery there and a former executive at freight forwarder EGL was sent to jail after charges of fraud involving war risk and other surcharges in airfreight shipments.
Schenker did not say whether the company is pursuing a criminal investigation of the Belgium business.
The internal investigation comes as government-owned Deutsche Bahn is preparing a public offering of its logistics business unit in what could be the largest initial stock offering on the German stock exchange in several years.
-- Traffic World