German students scramble to save lost "prom nights"
BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Dozens of German student groups have accused an event planning firm of ruining their plans for "prom night" and making off with their money.
The secondary school groups said that the Easy Abi company had taken money for securing locations, dinner and refreshments for the end-of-year student balls but failed provide the offered services, Berlin police said on Friday.
"We've received some 40 complaints and the firm is currently under investigation," a police spokesman said.
Investigators on Thursday raided the firm's office along with several apartments in Berlin, seizing business records, computer hard drives and cash.
Neither the firm nor individuals under investigation could be reached for comment.
"All of us don't come from rich families and had saved a lot for this day," Anuschka Schielin, a student at the Evangelical School Neukoelln in Berlin, told Bild newspaper. "We've now thrown away 7,300 euros."
An American high school tradition that stretches back decades, proms have also become popular among students in modern-day Germany as a way to celebrate end-of-year exams and have grown from simple parties into balls that in some cases cost tens of thousands of euros (dollars).
Similar complaints have been reported to police in Hamburg and are currently under investigation, authorities there said.
Meanwhile, some students in Berlin are hurrying to scrape together a last-minute prom.
Pupils at the Evangelical School are now washing cars and holding a bake sale to finance their prom and students at Berlin's Wilhelm von Siemens Gymnasium received a 2,000 euro donation from their namesake, Siemens AG.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Paul Casciato)
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