Freitag, 04. Februar 2011
"Yet more losses at the Ring?
Rhineland Palatinate, Germany: According to TV station SWR, further millions have been wasted at the Nurburgring. The station refers to a now known confidential draft report by the National Audit Office.
The report is particularly critical of Kai Richter, in his capacity as manager of the Cash Settlement & Ticketing GmbH (CST), and Prime Minister Kurt Beck has also come under fire from the opposition because of it.
CST, a company owned to 50% by Nürburgring Ltd, operates a cashless payment system at the Ring. SWR reports that Kai Richter signed numerous contracts with no service agreement and benefits for the CST.
CST has paid a number of invoices twice, paid six-figure sums to incorrect accounts and gave out new contracts without these going out to tender first. Staff members in the field have accumulated lavish expenses, such as two individuals who are said to have spent 13.000 Euro between them on phone bills in just three months. The CST is also alleged to have given out contracts to companies part-owned by Kai Richter, meaning he would have benefited financially from these transactions.
The CST hit the spotlight in 2010 when it nearly went bankrupt. The largely state owned Nurburgring Ltd granted a loan over 10 Million Euros at the time but the CST continued to incur losses.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs in Mainz emphasized that the draft report is no longer up to date as the privately run Nurburgring Automotive Ltd has taken over the day-to-day operation of CST with effect from early 2011. The draft report, dated 3 November 2010, refers to 2008 and 2009. Since the end of January there is a - yet unknown - final report.
Kai Richter has not yet been available for a detailed statement but a spokesman has acknowledged that funds did end up in incorrect accounts. These funds have since been returned. Kai Richter himself is not familiar with the content of either the draft report or the final report but he was quoted as saying: “I am sure the report would look differently if someone had asked me about the matter beforehand.” He is also quoted as saying that, for him, the National Audit Office report is irrelevant and only the positive attestation of the prestigious accounting firm Ernst & Young for the CST-accounting of the years 2008 and 2009 mattered.
The head of the CDU parliamentary group, Christian Baldauf, openly criticized the state government for ignoring warning issued by the National Audit Office. Even Green Party leader Evelyn Lemke denounces failures by the state government and calls for the dissolution of the CST, saying “ The structure of the company make it easy to waste taxpayers' money”."
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