“I took €150,000 - three rolls of €500 notes in an envelope. But I didn’t promise any concrete negotiations, only benevolence during checks on Imtech’s additional claims. It was wrong,” said Francis G. at the beginning of the trial in Cottbus.
The airport ended up paying Imtech €25 million for its additional claims and a further €41 million to a consortium in which Imtech was involved, Bild claims.
Alongside Francis G., two senior employees of Imtech - which has since gone bankrupt - were up in court. Both admitted to knowing about bribes.
“I knew about the bribes and I deeply regret it,” said one of the men, 61-year-old Klaus B.
The two former Imtech employees disputed G.'s version of events, saying he had demanded cash in return for pushing through their request for additional payment without it being checked first.
Prosecutors accuse Francis G. of taking the money at a carpark off the Autobahn shortly before Christmas 2012. They alleged that he allowed the Imtech claims for additional payments to go through without being checked.
Imtech was responsible for several important projects at the airport, including the fire safety system, the rebuilding of which is the principle cause for a years-long delay in the opening time.
The firm filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
Berlin authorities have pledged that the airport will open in 2017, six years behind schedule. But a new internal report seen by Bild suggests that the airport is unlikely to open before 2019, with work currently crawling along at a snail’s pace.
One former project planner for the airport has even suggested that the airport will never open due to complications involved in rebuilding its fire safety systems.