Deutsche Telekom’s former CEO could be indicted on charges of spying, after the firm’s former security chief said management backed his actions at a trial on Friday.
The security chief, known as Klaus T, said former CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke knew he had begun spying on board members, journalists and trade union members in 2005, prompting prosecutors to say they could re-open an investigation into Ricke’s role in the scandal, German newspaper Deutsche Welle reported.
Prosecutors were forced to drop a previous investigation into Ricke due to lack of evidence earlier this year, the paper said.
Deutsche Telekom’s former security chief made the allegation on the opening day of a trial into the spying affair, which saw him collect phone records of 50 people as part of a probe into the leak of commercially sensitive data in 2005.
He stands accused with three others of breaching Germany’s Federal Privacy Act, committing fraud, and embezzling funds.
Despite admitting the spying charges, T claims he was only acting in the interests of the company and did so in the full knowledge of Deutsche Telekom’s board, which did nothing to stop him.
He denied the charges of fraud and embezzlement.
Capping a bad week for the telco, German prosecutors confirmed Friday they had searched the firm’s offices as part of a separate bribery investigation surrounding subsidiary Magyar Telekom.
Investigators are probing eight managers over the award of contracts worth a total of €31 million ($39.9m) in 2005, following a complaint by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, AutomatedTrader.com reported.