GERMAN police have launched an investigation into allegations of fraud in the way ships were chartered during the Gulf War following a tip-off from the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), according to Lloyd's list. MoD fraud squad police contacted their counterparts in Germany, who then launched an inquiry in the role played by German shipping contacts in chartering ships for use by the British troops. A MoD spokesman confirmed information gathered by fraud squad police had been passed to the German authorities via Interpol, and that the Germans had started their own line of inquiry. Sources at the MoD and at Hamburg police were unable to confirm reports that individuals had already been arrested as a result of the German inquiry. The MoD stressed that its own investigations were still proceeding, and it has not ruled out the possibility of further arrests. The Crown Prosecution Service has been preparing a report on the MoD allegations. Reports of the German investigation follow close on the heels of the recent arrest and charging of a former chartering manager from the UK government freight agent, Hogg Robinson GFA, as well as a shipbroker who was questioned as part of the MoD inquiry. Hogg Robinson GFA was replaced as chartering agent for the MoD last year by the Baltic Exchange following publication of a National Audit Office report listing alleged deficiencies in the chartering of merchant vessels during Operation Desert Storm. The company still continues to perform other aspects of its five-year GFA contract with the MoD, including a number of freight forwarding operations.