On 14 December 2020, the Council on Ethics recommended that Thyssenkrupp AG be placed under observation due to an unacceptable risk that the company is contributing to or is itself responsible for gross corruption.
Thyssenkrupp is a German, multinational group of industrial companies comprising steel production and manufacturing of machine parts, general industrial service provision, as well as the construction of ships and submarines. The Council’s investigations have shown that Thyssenkrupp, through its subsidiaries, can be linked to suspicions or allegations of corruption in a total of eight countries over a period of more than 20 years. All the allegations relate to the payment of bribes or suspicious transactions – or agreements relating to such transfers of money – via agents and intermediaries to secure contracts for Thyssenkrupp’s subsidiaries. The Council’s review of the company’s systems and routines for the prevention and detection of corruption leaves the impression that Thyssenkrupp has done much to establish a comprehensive and effective anti-corruption programme. At the same time, the Council has noted that there is a significant discrepancy between what the company itself has disclosed and the information the Council has obtained from other sources concerning an ongoing corruption case in Israel, which involves Thyssenkrupp’s former agent in the country. More generally, the Council is of the opinion that Thyssenkrupp has not provided sufficient assurance that the company will always be able to adequately handle the corruption risk associated with the use of third parties.
On 3 March 2021, Norges Bank announced its decision to request NBIM to follow up on the risk of corruption in its ownership dialogue with the company. Thyssenkrupp is therefore not included on the Fund’s observation list.