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A company that provides security guards at numerous U.S. Army Europe facilities is being investigated by German authorities in connection with allegations that it schemed to bill the military millions of euros for work never performed.

The company — Securitas GmbH Werkschutz — and USAREUR confirmed that Würzburg prosecutors are investigating the fraud allegations, which center on the years 2002-2006.

“An examination is being undertaken as to whether Securitas GmbH Werkschutz, within the scope of its contract to guard the U.S. barracks in Ansbach, Bamberg, Giebelstadt, Illesheim, Kitzingen, Schweinfurt and Würzburg, charged too many hours,” a Securitas spokeswoman said Friday in a prepared statement.

“The public prosecution office is investigating whether inflated numbers of hours were invoiced with the agreement of the responsible [members of] the U.S. Army,” the Securitas spokeswoman also stated.

Investigators with the Würzburg prosecutor’s office could not be reached for comment. However, prosecutor Clemens Lückemann confirmed to the German newspaper Main Post that his office was investigating allegations that Securitas improperly charged millions in euros during a four-year period.

U.S. Army Europe declined to discuss the case in detail.

“USAREUR is aware that the German government is investigating Securitas. We are cooperating fully with German authorities in the investigation, but it would not be appropriate to comment on the investigation at this time,” USAREUR stated.

Securitas argues that it has conducted its own review and determined that the accusations are unfounded.

“We assume that also on the side of our client (the Army), no indications exist for the accusations made since no changes have been made in respect [to] the relevant persons responsible,” Securitas stated, referring to U.S. Army personnel.

On July 19, Main Post reported that Securitas’ main office in Würzburg and locations in Schweinfurt, Kitzingen, Mannheim, Brandenburg and Berlin were searched in connection with the investigation.

At U.S. Army bases throughout Germany, security gates are generally guarded by employees of private corporations who work under contract with the military.

Pond Security, based out of Erlensee, Germany, is the other major security company that provides guards for USAREUR.

The trend toward using outside agencies began in 1997 with the deployment of soldiers to the Balkans. The deployment resulted in a manpower shortage for security and made guards from private agencies a necessity.

Securitas’ roughly 17 million euro (about $23 million) contract with the Army expires Aug. 31, according to the company. Going forward, USAREUR will be working with a competing firm, Securitas stated.

USAREUR’s decision not to renew the contract is unrelated to the allegations of fraud and the subsequent investigation, Securitas said.

“Securitas had already been notified by its client (the Army) prior to the investigation procedures that the contract would be awarded to a competitor,” the company stated.

Securitas is an international company that provides security and investigative services in numerous countries. Its contract with USAREUR began in 1999. The number of employees used at U.S. bases peaked at 1,700, but has declined to a current level of 500 guards and administrative employees, Securitas reported.

While declining to discuss details of the investigation, USAREUR stated: “Force protection is a top priority and we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure our soldiers, family members and employees have the best force protection possible.”

In a separate matter, Securitas filed a civil claim against the U.S. Army in April. The claim seeks a back payment of several million euros for unpaid services, the company stated.

Mecki Snippen provided translation services for this story.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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