Former VW executive charged in scandal

5th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2007, Braunschweig, Germany (dpa) - A former senior executive and a former works council head at Volkswagen have been charged in relation to a long-running sex-and-bribery scandal at Europe's biggest carmaker, prosecutors said Monday. Klaus Volkert, who headed the powerful works council for 15 years, was charged on 48 counts of incitement to breach of trust, while ex-personnel manager Klaus-Joachim Gebauer faces 40 charges of breach of trust and one of incitement to breach of trust. The charges w

5 January 2007

Braunschweig, Germany (dpa) - A former senior executive and a former works council head at Volkswagen have been charged in relation to a long-running sex-and-bribery scandal at Europe's biggest carmaker, prosecutors said Monday.

Klaus Volkert, who headed the powerful works council for 15 years, was charged on 48 counts of incitement to breach of trust, while ex-personnel manager Klaus-Joachim Gebauer faces 40 charges of breach of trust and one of incitement to breach of trust.

The charges were filed in Braunschweig, near the northern German city of Wolfsburg where Volkswagen has its headquarters.

Some 41 witnesses are expected to give evidence at the trial, which is not due to begin until summer at the earliest. If convicted the two men face a fine and up to five years in prison.

In January, former senior VW manager Peter Hartz received a suspended two-year sentence and a 576,000-euro (750,000-dollar) fine for his role in the scandal, which first emerged in June 2005.

Hartz, better known for tough labour market reforms introduced under the last chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, had confessed to sanctioning illegal payments.

Hartz admitted being the initiator of abuse that saw nearly 2 million euros in illegal bonuses paid to Volkert in an attempt to win union support for company decisions at Europe's largest carmaker.

The scandal originally centred on bribes from potential suppliers and the creation of dummy companies to secure lucrative foreign contracts, but it widened to include claims about high-class prostitutes and sex parties financed with company funds.

Under German law, works council leaders need to be consulted on major company decisions.

The case highlighted the cozy relations between management and VW unions and the lengths company bosses were prepared to go to in order to keep labour leaders on their side.

DPA

Subject: German news

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