Key VW scandal figure questioned by prosecutors

22nd December 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 December 2005, BRAUNSCHWEIG - A key figure in the sex and bribery scandal that shook German carmaker Volkswagen AG this year was questioned by prosecutors Thursday investigating the affair.

22 December 2005

BRAUNSCHWEIG - A key figure in the sex and bribery scandal that shook German carmaker Volkswagen AG this year was questioned by prosecutors Thursday investigating the affair.

Helmuth Schuster, the former personal chief of VW's Skoda operations in the Czech Republic left the company in June as allegations about kickbacks from suppliers began to emerge.

On Thursday Schuster faced a rigorous round of questioning over the affair, which led to the resignation of a string of VW executives, at a two day hearing into the scandal by the state prosecutor in Braunschweig, which is near the carmaker's north German head quarters.

However, like the former VW personnel manager Klaus Joachim Gebauer, who was questioned again on Wednesday, Schuster did not make any comment on the company's activities.

The scandal originally centred on allegations about the payment of bribes from potential suppliers and the creation of camouflage companies which were used to secure lucrative VW contracts abroad.

The network of camouflage companies was reported to have stretched from India, Angola, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

But the scandal has also included a steady stream of sometimes lurid allegations about sexual favours being offered to workers representatives.

Both Gebauer and Schuster are considered to be major figures in the scandal, which also led to the resignation of VW's high-profile personnel director Peter Hartz.

The former chief of the VW works council, Klaus Volkert and Hartz are both due to be called again by prosecutors. Revelations about the scandal led the public prosecutor's office to launch an investigation into the affair because of concerns of fraud in the case.

DPA

Subject: German news

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