Porsche prepares for raid over market manipulation claims

31 May 2017

31 May 2017 Following reports that Porsche CEO Dieter Poetsch and management board member Matthias Mueller are being investigated over claims related to the Volkswagen (VW) diesel scandal, the car maker has said it cannot rule out the possibility of a raid on its premises by investigators. While there are no claims that Porsche vehicles were fitted with the cheat devices found on VW diesel vehicles in the US, Porsche SE is an investment vehicle which owns the majority of the voting shares in Volkswagen. Poetsch and Mueller are suspected of informing investors too late about risks to Porsche SE from the Dieselgate fallout. Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting at the end of May 2017, Poetsch said: ′The past year was not only a difficult one for Volkswagen and Porsche SE, it was also difficult for myself. Following the charges brought by the Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in summer 2016 against me and my executive board colleague Matthias MÜller as well as against the former CEO of Porsche SE, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, a criminal investigation has since been launched on account of alleged market manipulation in connection with the diesel issue. Porsche SE is currently not aware of any further details regarding charges and the criminal investigation. Porsche SE firmly believes that none of its board members have breached any statutory capital market or criminal law regulations.’ The AGM also saw Ferdinand Piech return for the first time in two years, after he clashed with the Porsche family over the future of former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. Piech wanted him out but Winterkorn, backed by VW’s key stakeholders including Wolfgang Porsche, became one of the few executives in VW’s history to survive a Piech putsch attempt. Winterkorn later quit when VW’s diesel-emissions cheating became public. Meanwhile, Daimler is seeking criminal defence lawyers to represent company executives who may be swept up in the US Justice Department’s investigation of possible diesel-emissions cheating. The move may been seen as prosecutors having identified key people who they believe responsible for any irregularities the company may have been involved in. It is unclear whether such executives are based in the US or Germany, where the manufacturer is also facing an investigation. It has also come to light that alongside Daimler, Bosch has been named as a co-defendant in the criminal case. The company was also implicated in the VW scandal, and supplies both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and General Motors (GM), which are also facing lawsuits over emissions cheating.

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