Volkswagen corruption inquiry continues to grow

29th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2005, BRAUNSCHWEIG, GERMANY - German prosecutors plan to fly abroad to pursue a growing corruption inquiry against former Volkswagen executives, according to justice officials Thursday.

29 July 2005

BRAUNSCHWEIG, GERMANY - German prosecutors plan to fly abroad to pursue a growing corruption inquiry against former Volkswagen executives, according to justice officials Thursday.

Among the allegations is that an executive, Helmuth Schuster, peddled his influence to a southern Indian state, Andhra Pradesh, for a payment of EUR 2 million. Volkswagen has since said it will pay Andhra Pradesh a matching sum in compensation.

A prosecution spokesman in Braunschweig, near the German car company's Wolfsburg headquarters, said a first request for forensic assistance would be made to a foreign nation shortly, but he did not say which country.

Schuster also had dealings with Angola and worked from the Czech Republic. If the request is granted, German police would be able to visit the country involved and conduct their own criminal inquiries.

The Schuster case was followed by revelations that worker leaders at Volkswagen were supplied with prostitutes to make them amenable to company wishes. Volkswagen filed a formal police complaint Thursday against its own labour-relations executives for illegal influence.

The prosecutors said a disgraced former VW labour-relations chief, Klaus-Joachim Gebauer, was named as one suspect, but the complaint was a collective one again any Volkswagen management who might have handled illicit payments for worker representatives.

Such acts are punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine. The prosecutors say they are still checking the facts, and added that worker leaders could also face prosecution for receiving bribes.

Schuster is alleged to have told the Andhra Pradesh government that Volkswagen would build a factory in the state if a payment was made to a dummy company he and his Indian associates controlled.

DPA

Subject: German news

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