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Danish brewer Carlsberg is facing several allegations of corruption, fraud and other potential illegal practices in its Indian subsidiary.
The allegations are disclosed in the latest annual report from Carlsberg India Private Limited, according to Danish newspaper Berlingske.
In October of last year, the newspaper uncovered how senior staff members at one of Carlsberg’s breweries in India had systematically bribed government officials.
With the new accusations and claims disclosed in the financial statements, the number of allegations facing Carlsberg India has grown significantly, experts said.
According to Per Nikolaj Bukh, professor of business administration at Aalborg University in Denmark, the new information shows that the issues in Carlsberg India seem far more extensive than initially assumed.
»This is a red flag, which the headquarters in Copenhagen has to react to,« Per Nikolaj Bukh said to Berlingske.
An internal review of »alleged fraud« have observed »payments without adequate supporting evidence« which »indicated wekanesses in the internal controls«, according to the annual financial statement.
In another case, misappropriation of approximately 150.000 dollars was committed by a former employee, which Carlsberg has now reported to the local police.
In a third case, which is still being investigated, a whistleblower warned against potentially unlawful practices committed by employees in the form of »improper payments« and »kickbacks«.
»The allegations mentioned in the report are serious for a number of reasons. First of all, because Carlsberg does not seem to comply with Indian law. Second, because corruption cases in India can result in Carlsberg being fined relatively large fines in the United States and the United Kingdom. Finally, the use of bribes can damage Carlsberg’s reputation,« said Kim Klarskov Jeppesen, professor of accounting at Copenhagen Business School (CBS).
The initial case of alleged bribery, which Danish newspaper Berlingske uncovered last fall, is also mentioned in the annual report. Carlsberg said that the specific case had initially been investigated thoroughly and that no evidence of bribing was found. Yet, Carlsberg has reopened the investigation and a review is currently in progress, according to the annual report.
According to Carlsberg some of the allegations originate from their local partner, Singapore businessman C.P. Khetan, with whom Carlsberg is having an ongoing financial dispute.
In a statement to Danish newspaper Berlingske Carlsberg’s spokesperson Kasper Elbjørn said:
»As the conflict intensifies our partner and his representatives have chosen to spread wide ranging accusations at all possible occasions including in the financial statements, to Indian ministries, and to Carlsberg’s board of directors and management in Copenhagen«.
The Carlsberg spokesperson said that the allegations are being investigated and that all necessary measures will be taken.
If you have any information or tips regarding the case contact journalist Michael Lund (+4525456273) or journalist Henrik Jensen (+4525442449) via phone, the encrypted app Signal or Whatsapp.
Read an English version of the original case of alleged bribery here.