Police are investigating a suspected theft ring targeting precious metal-bearing intermediate products generated from copper recycler Aurubis’ production processes at its Hamburg facility. Some suspects were arrested.
Hamburg’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and the police are checking on individual active and former Aurubis employees, although the company says no accusations have been directed against it. Aurubis has sacked affected employees and banned accused third-party employees from the plant. ‘The company has given the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the police its full support for several years, and welcomes the extensive investigations aimed at identifying those behind these crimes,’ it says in a press release.
Customers, suppliers not affected
Several Aurubis employee workspaces and the on-site offices of contractors at the Hamburg site were searched as part of the investigation. ‘The public prosecutor’s office was able to obtain arrest warrants amounting to over EUR 20 million,’ the release adds. ‘The amount of the damages ultimately incurred by Aurubis is the subject of the investigation. According to current findings, Aurubis can rule out any harm to suppliers or customers.’
High security standards
The company acknowledges that, because of its business processing precious metals, it is at risk of becoming the focus of criminal activity. ‘We therefore have the high prevention and security standards in place,’ says Heiko Arnold, coo custom smelting and products at Aurubis. ‘Nevertheless, we have taken this incident as an opportunity to thoroughly analyse and revise these standards once again. We have immediately implemented some initial measures that will significantly increase our previous safety level, especially in view of the current situation.’
Whistle blower system
Aurubis says it also employs established instruments to detect incidents of this type, including a whistle blower system for people both inside and outside the company, and dedicated audits for all staff working in areas involving high-value materials.