British army bases in Germany and eight local companies were searched today in an investigation into alleged corruption involving civilian employees, prosecutors said.
The inquiry involves 21 army employees responsible for awarding contracts for building maintenance and procuring civilian goods, prosecutors in Wuppertal said.
Officials at the German companies are suspected of having paid bribes to the employees in an effort to gain preferential treatment, prosecutors said. The two sides also engaged in bogus transactions, they added.
Neither the company officials nor the army employees were identified. It was unclear whether all the military employees were Germans or whether British citizens also were involved.
The employees are suspected of corruption, breach of trust and tax evasion, and 18 company officials could face charges of corruption and being accessories to breach of trust, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said they searched for evidence at British bases in Moenchengladbach, Elmpt, Paderborn and Herford in north-west Germany.
They said British authorities were co-operating fully with the investigation, and military police provided support.