BERLIN Jan 24 Germany's ADAC car club
acknowledged on Friday that senior managers had used its rescue
helicopters for business trips, spelling more embarrassment for
the group after it admitted falsifying results of its annual car
award earlier this month.
With over 18 million members, ADAC has had a reputation as a
bastion of integrity in car-obsessed Germany, where it provides
the biggest breakdown service and its test reports are followed
But the latest revelations have severely damaged its
credibility, forcing out its communications director.
An ADAC spokesman told Reuters on Friday that its president,
Peter Meyer, and other executives were allowed to use reserve
helicopters in exceptional cases, confirming local media
He said the club's top management had taken around 30 such
flights in the last 10 years and stressed that the helicopters
were only used for this purpose when there was no other way to
get to appointments on time.
"It was certainly not an everyday occurrence," Garrels said,
adding the flights were paid for "completely and totally
A report in German news magazine Stern had suggested ADAC's
air rescue helicopters were financed by federal funds, health
insurance contributions, club members and donations.
But the spokesman said no public funds had been used to pay
for the flights, which the ADAC Luftrettung GmbH - ADAC's air
rescue subsidiary - invoiced to the ADAC.
The spokesman said he could not say how much the flights
cost but added that using it own machines was cheaper than using
ADAC describes air rescue as one of its core services and
its subsidiary has 51 helicopters, of which 15 are reserve
machines, Garrels said.
He added that the reserve machines are lent to other air
rescue organisations and used at large sporting events in
exchange for a fee.
The club shocked Germans earlier this month by admitting it
had falsified results of its coveted "Yellow Angel" award for
Germany's favourite car this year.
(Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Michelle Martin;
Editing by Noah Barkin and Sophie hares)