Kempinski Hotels SA has filed criminal complaints of alleged professional misconduct and fraud against Reto Wittwer, the group’s former president and CEO based on the results of an internal investigation, according to an official statement.
The criminal complaints, which have been filed in Switzerland, state that Wittwer defrauded Kempinski of significant sums of money. He is alleged to have channelled funds out of the company, with fraudulent intent and avoiding all internal controls, even during periods when Kempinski was obliged to make budget cuts and make drastic savings on labour costs.
Kempinski CEO Alejandro Bernabé said: “Kempinski, and everyone associated with the company, has been badly let down by someone in whom we placed our full trust. The high responsibilities of executive office and the fundamental values on which Kempinskihas carefully built its business have, we believe, been deliberately flouted in the pursuit of personal greed and unlawful gain. We are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness.”
When Kempinski first became aware last year of initial suspicions of professional misconduct by Wittwer, the board took the decision that Wittwer had to leave the company, and obliged him to retire with immediate effect.
The decision to take legal action was only made after the board was informed earlier this year of the results of a full internal investigation conducted by a third party following Wittwer’s departure from Kempinski in October 2014.
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