The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) has filed a damage compensation claim with the Kaiserslautern Regional Court (Landgericht Kaiserslautern) against a former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the DFKI. The subject of the lawsuit are allegations that are primarily concerned with the violation of the commercial duty of care in the context of DFKI's construction projects. Thus, this exclusively concerns violations of duty in the administrative area, the accusation of personal enrichment is not raised. After the person concerned unfortunately failed to respond to the corresponding requests, we were forced to file a damage compensation in January.
The core tasks and excellent research projects of the DFKI are not affected by the allegations: Neither are nor were current or former management colleagues involved in the incidents. However, since public funds are also used in construction projects, DFKI considers itself to have a special responsibility and has therefore taken it upon itself not only to account for these events legally, but also to deal with them in an open manner. This includes that we have informed DFKI-bodies and employees about the lawsuit, and in addition have sought conversations with our partners at the federal and state level.
After the irregularities – that can be pointed to the tenure of a former CFO – were discovered, the auditing department was entrusted with the task of analyzing and reworking the proceedings. In order to work through the entire complex at full stretch and comprehensively, external experts were also brought in.
As a consequence of the events, various processes were reviewed internally and changes were made in order to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, as far as possible. These include adjustments to the organizational structure and the strengthening of DFKI's internal control systems and the development of a new DFKI Code of Conduct as well as the establishment of a central awarding office for public tenders.
For us at DFKI, this process is as bitter as it is painful. Therefore, it is very important to us to fully investigate the entire complex.
Above all, however, we have done and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the DFKI and thus our partners do not suffer any damage - and that the DFKI can continue its successful work without any impairment. In view of the ongoing proceedings, we ask for your understanding that we will not comment on further details with regards to this matter.
In order to carefully separate the pending legal proceedings from the operational business of DFKI, the lawsuit is being represented by the law firm Esche Schümann Commichau Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB, Hamburg, at the Kaiserslautern Regional Court. The agency DIRK METZ Kommunikation (DMK), Frankfurt am Main, has been entrusted with communications in the proceedings.