Police and prosecutors from the State of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney have raided offices belonging to the Bloomberg financial news company and Turner Construction, the American subsidiary of Spanish giant ACS.
The raids, which took place in October last year but have just been reported in The New York Times, were part of an ongoing investigation into suspicions of bid-rigging in New York’s $9.4bn office fit-out sector.
Police seized records belonging to two Bloomberg executives, one of whom was Anthony Guzzone, the global head of construction for Bloomberg. He is suspected of inflating the cost of fit-out projects, then awarding them to companies in return for kickbacks.
Mr Guzzone denies the allegations; Bloomberg itself is not suspected of wrongdoing.
Turner is suspected of being one of the companies involved, and a lawyer for the firm has said its internal fraud prevention measures were subverted. Two executives have had their offices and homes searched by investigators.
Other firms involved are thought to be an unnamed fit-out specialist in the New York City district of Queens and an electrical contractor.
The work involved fit-outs at Bloomberg offices, and may have amounted to about an overpayment of $1m a year, however investigators suspect that the Bloomberg case may be part of a wider $100m fraud in the New York fit-out sector.
In a similar case four years ago, Bloomberg’s former general contractor, Structure Tone, pleaded guilty to corruption charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and agreed to forfeit $5m for defrauding Bloomberg, as well as financial institutions, law firms and advertising agencies. Following the case, Bloomberg replaced Structure Tone with Turner.
Image: Bloomberg’s New York City offices (Bloomberg)