Components maker Faurecia SA is reported to be under investigation for allegedly bribing a BMW manager.

The Associated Press (AP) noted that Frankfurt prosecutors had on Monday (24 July) said that they are investigating the supplier for allegedly paying bribes of up to EUR800,000 ($US1m) a year to staff at German companies, including Volkswagen, to secure contracts.

On Tuesday, their counterparts in Munich told the news agency that Faurecia was suspected in a similar case involving BMW. Premises of both the supplier and the automaker were searched in May, prosecutor Anton Winkler said.

That case had emerged in July 2005 with the arrest of a BMW purchasing manager on bribery charges, but the payer was not identified at the time, the report added.

Faurecia chairman and chief executive Pierre Levy said on Monday that the company is co-operating fully with German authorities.

Asked the same day about the Frankfurt investigation, BMW said the company had "no new case," and would not say if Faurecia was a supplier, according to Associated Press.

Winkler said the BMW manager, who has been in custody for about a year, is suspected of seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars from several suppliers in connection with contracts for 3-series and Mini parts. One of the 55-year-old manager's colleagues is also under investigation, according to the report.

Winkler told the news agency that suspicion has fallen on Faurecia during the investigation.

The Frankfurt probe covers about 20 people, including two Faurecia managers and an employee of VW's Audi unit who were arrested. One of the Faurecia managers was released after a "comprehensive confession," prosecutors told the news agency.

One former and one current VW brand purchasing manager are also among those under investigation, AP added.