The trial opened in Germany today of former bosses at luxury sports car maker Porsche on charges of market manipulation over a failed takeover bid for Volkswagen.
Porsche’s ex-chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking, as well as former finance chief Holger Haerter, stand accused of having publicly given “false information” on the company’s plans in 2008.
The company issued several public denials between March and October 2008 that it was planning to raise its stake in Volkswagen AG to 75 percent, while in reality it was in the process of building up its shares in the company, prosecutors said.
Several months later, Porsche suddenly announced it was planning to acquire three-quarters of Volkswagen’s stock, seriously affecting the target’s share price, they added.
Wiedeking and Haerter’s defence lawyers have described the accusations as “unfounded”.
The botched hostile takeover bid of Volkswagen by Porsche left the sports car maker with a mountain of debt (10 billion euros or USD 13 billion).
VW turned around and launched a takeover of Porsche, initially acquiring 49.9 per cent in the sports car maker in 2009 before announcing in August 2012 that it had completed the acquisition.