Reebok fraud: Parent Adidas welcomes MCA action

Tags: Companies
With the SFIO filing chargesheet in the Rs 870-crore financial fraud at Reebok, the apparel maker's German parent adidas Group has said the probe agency has not recommended any charges against its executive board.

In the case relating to financial misdoings at Reebok India, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) recently filed a chargesheet in a Gurgaon court near here.

Responding to a detailed questionnaire on the SFIO action, adidas Group said that Reebok India is a victim of the fraudulent activity.

"We also want to underline that the SFIO report has not recommended any charges against the executive board of the adidas Group," the company told PTI in response to e-mailed queries.

"We are pleased that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has

taken cognisance of our representation and also recognised the responsibility taken by the whistle blowers," it said.

The agency, which probed the misdoings, is believed to have found alleged lapses on the auditing front also, sources said. However, adidas did not respond to specific queries about the role of auditors when the alleged financial misdoings happened.

According to the statement, Reebok India officials Claus Heckerott and Shahin Padath originally discovered the fraud and were the whistle blowers to the government authorities.

Heckerott was Managing Director and Padath was Director (Finance) at the company earlier.

In December last year, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot had said "anybody who is a whistle blower or someone who has flagged the issue and reported something, then to prosecute them perhaps is not the best thing".

"The view we got from many sources was that if you are a whistle blower and you are a complainant, you can't then also be prosecuted for the same case," he had said.

Meanwhile, adidas said the actual perpetrators of the fraud against whom Reebok India had initiated a complaint with the authorities have been implicated in the SFIO report.

"We are reviewing the details of the report and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this matter," the statement added.

Reebok India, in its FIR filed with police in 2012, had alleged financial fraud to the tune of Rs 870 crore at the company by certain persons including senior executives of its India arm.

In March last year, adidas said its balance sheet for 2011 was negatively impacted by 153 million euros on account of commercial irregularities at its arm Reebok India.

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