A German court gave former Porsche CFO Holger Haerter a 630,000-euro fine for credit fraud in a criminal case over VW’s failed acquisition.
Haerter was accused of downplaying Porsche’s liquidity needs and for not disclosing the correct number of VW’s shares owned by Porsche during the company’s negotiations with BNP Paribas about the lender’s share worth 500 million euro of the syndicated loan, according to Stuttgart Regional Court Presiding Judge Roderich Martis.
“The information given by the defendants was wrong,” Martis said. “It doesn’t matter that they gave the correct information earlier in the process. It’s true also in normal life that a lie doesn’t disappear just because you once said the truth some time before.”
This is the first criminal verdict in the processes related to Porsche’s takeover bid. The automaker also faces civil suits which seek a total of around 5.5 billion euro in Germany. Back in December, Haerter and former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking were charged over the use of VW options in the bid. The head of the automaker’s finance unit Christian N. was also fined 63,000 euro.
“It’s been clear between all the persons involved here, at BNP and Porsche, that the term ‘net purchase price post collateral’ was used here to describe what amount would have to be paid at that time to increase the stake in VW by 20 percent,” Martis said. “You may call that liquidity or, as a BNP manager did, ‘cash out of the pocket,’ it doesn’t matter which term you use.”