Switzerland-based marketing company Infront Sport & Media has revealed in a statement that it has discovered fraudulent activities that are presumed to have been committed by one of its former senior employees.
Infront first became aware of certain of these activities following notification by the public prosecutor in Thurgau, Switzerland, of a pending criminal investigation against the former employee relating to disloyal and unfaithful business management.
Infront said it has taken various actions in response to the discovery of the alleged fraudulent activity, including alerting affected clients and offering them compensation. Following the public prosecutor’s initial notification, the former employee in question was dismissed.
As an additional result of Infront’s internal investigation, it also has become aware that gifts, at Infront’s cost, were provided by the former employee to employees of at least one of Infront’s clients that exceeded reasonable and customary values.
Infront has applied to constitute itself as a victim in this criminal procedure and is cooperating fully with the prosecuting authorities.
“While investigating the presumably fraudulent activities, it became apparent that those activities are linked to perimeter board advertising provided by Infront for matches governed by the German Football Association (DFB). The activities involved providing clients with less advertising time than contractually specified, thereby creating a surplus of available advertising time, for which additional revenue was generated. Infront’s ongoing internal investigation has provided reason to believe that the former employee transferred in a presumably fraudulent manner revenues generated by his activities out of the company. Infront has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to evaluate the actual delivered advertising time against the respective contracts.”
Infront President/CEO Philippe Blatter said: “Infront has been damaged by what we have uncovered. We are deeply shocked that a former employee of ours violated our trust to the detriment of our clients and our company and will take all measures necessary to avoid similar incidents in the future. As a company, we place ethical conduct at the heart of what we do. We expect our employees to act in accordance with strict ethical standards and we take violations of our code of conduct very seriously. Our internal investigation is ongoing. As part of that investigation, we have identified internal control processes that need to be, and are in the process of being, strengthened. We do not expect that any compensation we may pay to affected clients will have a material impact on our results.”