German science center fires director, citing trust concerns

Science News

BERLIN (AP) — The head of Germany’s national earth sciences research center has been dismissed from his post amid allegations of corruption.

The German Research Center for Geosciences, or GFZ, said Tuesday it had terminated the contract of scientific executive director and board chairman Reinhard Huettl “with immediate effect.”

The GFZ runs an international seismic monitoring network known as GEOFON that provides near-real time information on earthquakes around the world.

Huettl, who had been in the post since 2007, was suspended in October following allegations of what the GFZ called “compliance violations with respect to handling of financial resources.”

“After consideration of the evidence which has come to light to date, the board of trustees of the GFZ no longer sees any basis for a trustworthy cooperation,” the research center said in a statement.

The organization, based in Potsdam just outside of Berlin, did not elaborate on Huettl’s alleged wrongdoing but said state prosecutors were investigating. The prosecutors’ office in Neuruppin didn’t immediately respond to a request for further information.

Huettl, who is also a member of German automaker BMW’s supervisory board, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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