By Andrei Skvarsky.
France’s Carrefour and Germany’s Kaufland are among retailers that have found themselves entangled in a corruption scandal in Poland as executives were accused of accepting massive bribes from beverage producers for putting some of their drinks on supermarket shelves, according to a Polish daily.
Bribes came from 49 beverage companies, which included Polish rye vodka manufacturer Sobieski and Red Bull, the Austrian maker of a famous energy drink, and from one confectionery firm, Gazeta Wyborcza said, citing a report from the prosecution service.
Twenty-six people face trials at the Wroclaw District Court after five-year investigations that covered the majority of Polish retail chains and “nearly all major producers of soft and alcoholic drinks in the Polish market”, the report said.
In what is a “highly competitive” market, “it has been very hard for producers to gain access to a retail chain or to have more of their goods put on sale there”, the prosecution service said.
The investigations started with the arrest in 2010 of a top Kaufland executive, who is accused of taking bribes to a total of more than 4m zlotys ($975,000 at today’s official exchange rate).
Gazeta Wyborcza said that what is calls the “shelf scheme” had had a negative impact on retailers’ revenues.