Bribery slur on ‘The Dome’ project top gun

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Frankfurt TheDome July 2020 update Image: Katz Group

The Managing Director of the ‘The Dome Frankfurt’ project in Germany, Felix Scheuerpflug, has come under a cloud in the award of contract procedure.

German newspaper FAZ, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has reported that the public prosecutor’s office has grilled Scheuerpflug on strong suspicion that the top official’s palms have been greased in regards to business dealings in context with the project.

The FAZ, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung further stated that the prosecutor has said that Scheuerpflug has tried to privately provide commission benefits to a negotiating partner.

Though there is no concrete evidence as regards under-the-table payments having been made, there is a “huge suspicion” as regards taking bribe. In this connection, a raid was carried out in the home of Scheuerpflug as well as in his workplace.

‘The Dome’ is the latest in a series of proposed new arena projects in Frankfurt. It is emerging as a rival arena project to a multifunctional facility being planned in Kaiserlei – a railway station in the municipality of Offenbach am Main, located in Hesse, Germany.

The Kaiserlei project is hanging fire involving the City of Frankfurt. Question marks have been raised over the legitimacy of ‘The Dome’ project. The site itself would reportedly be troublesome from a regulatory perspective, while plans for Fraport (the transport company which operates the Frankfurt Airport) to lease the land would likely necessitate a public tender process. The City has already floated tender for the Kaiserlei project.

The basketball club Fraport Skyliners is likely to treat the ‘The Dome’ as their new home. It seems a thorough probe is being carried out into charges of corruption to convince Skyliners CEO Gunnar Wöbke about the project.

Wöbke had earlier said that The Dome project is “very unrealistic,” and that he continues to support the Kaiserlei project.

FAZ, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted a spokesman for the ‘The Dome’ as saying that it is customary to pay a commission for arranging sponsors for an arena against invoice. It is doubtful whether this money should benefit the managing director privately or the association – “The allegations are not true. The company is contemplating legal action against false accusations.”

Wöbke stated, “When the police question me, I will be honest with them.”

The Fraport Skyliners are a professional basketball club based in Frankfurt, Germany. Their home arena is Ballsporthalle. The club has played in the Basketball Bundesliga since 1999.

The Katz Group of Companies, one of Canada’s largest private firms, is moving ahead with plans to build the largest indoor arena in Germany, and the second-largest in Europe, next to Frankfurt Airport. The company also plans to build a multifunctional hall at the airport.

The Dome will cost €300 million and have a capacity of 23,000, placing it ahead of SMG’s Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.) in the UK and just behind Live Nation’s Sportpaleis (23,001-cap.) in Antwerp, Belgium.

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