Prosecutors extend manipulation probe to all Porsche SE board members image

Prosecutors in Germany have extended a probe into market manipulation during Porsche’s failed bid to take over Volkswagen to all members of Porsche SE’s supervisory board.

The list includes chairman Wolfgang Porsche and his cousin and VW chairman Ferdinand Piech. All 12 board members in office between March 2008 and October 2008, including labor representatives, are being looked at. Prosecutors want to find out whether the board members helped former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and finance chief Holger Haerter in market manipulation during that period.

The move comes after a December decision by prosecutors to charge Wiedeking and Haerter with market manipulation of VW shares during Porsche SE’s failed takeover attempt of Europe’s largest carmaker. Porsche SE still faces lawsuits seeking more than 4 billion euros in court over the issue. The carmaker and its former executives have denied the allegations.

In December, a New York court threw out a lawsuit by 26 hedge funds accusing Porsche of hiding a plan to corner the market in Volkswagen shares. However, the hedge funds agreed not to appeal the U.S. ruling after reaching a deal with Porsche that allows them to sue in Germany.

Porsche SE accumulated more than 10 billion euros of debt in its attempts to buy VW, almost going bankrupt. Instead of buying VW, the company ended up selling its sports car business, Porsche AG, to VW.

Source: Automotive News