20 Austrian companies raided in €100m corruption investigation

The offices of Austria’s two largest contractors were among addresses raided by anti-corruption investigators on Wednesday last week as part of a swoop on companies suspected of price fixing.

Strabag, the country’s largest international construction firm, and Porr, the largest company in the domestic market, have confirmed that they are the subject of an investigation. It was reported in the local press on Friday that another 18 companies may also be implicated. The total amount involved was given in the search warrants as €100m.

It is understood that the investigation, which is being carried out by the Economic Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKSta) is centred on road projects in the provinces of Carinthia and Styria, as well as renovation works on motorways and federal roads between 2008 and 2014.

One project that is thought to be the subject of attention is the A9 toll road (pictured), which runs from the Austrian alps to Styria, and which is presently being turned into a double-carriageway.  

Porr said it could not comment on any incidents affecting its regional businesses until it had carried out its own investigation. It added: "We have promptly initiated an internal audit and, of course, we are cooperating fully with the authorities."

Strabag commented: "It is true that searches were carried out in our offices in Vienna and Spittal ad Drau on Wednesday. In the course of the investigations, we were asked to support the research by issuing documents – a request that of course we complied with. We ask for your understanding that we will not comment on it, at least until our internal auditors have had the opportunity to examine the facts."

Shares in Strabag fell by 7% and Porr by 11% after the news of the raids was made public.

Image: The A9 Pyhrn Autobahn (YouTube)

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