Google German Exec Charged Over Telekom Austria Kickbacks

Google Inc.’s sales director in Germany, Stefan Tweraser, was charged in Austria with receiving kickbacks for sponsorship deals he made while he worked at Telekom Austria AG.

Tweraser and three others are charged with breach of trust, the spokeswoman for Vienna’s state prosecutor, Nina Bussek, said today via telephone. The news was first reported by Format magazine in a pre-release of an article scheduled for publication tomorrow.

Google “doesn’t comment on private matters of its employees,” Kay Oberbeck, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. He didn’t immediately reply to a request for Tweraser’s contacts details. The switchboard at Google’s offices in Hamburg declined to put a call through to Tweraser, who joined Google in 2008 after working as Telekom Austria’s marketing chief.

The case revolves around a 585,600-euro ($772,400) payment allegedly made to Tweraser by a marketing company Telekom Austria contracted with during the 2008 European Soccer Championship, according to the Format report. Tweraser will be asked to repay the money, the magazine reported, citing a 16-page court document it obtained.

Former Telekom Austria executives, including former Chief Executive Officer Heinz Sundt and former Chief Financial Officer Stefano Colombo, have been charged with improprieties ranging from share-price manipulation to unauthorized payments.

Austria’s parliament convened an investigatory panel that focused on Telekom Austria last year. The opposition Green Party published a 398-page record of testimony and documents showing how the former telephone monopoly improperly funded Austrian politicians and political campaigns.

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