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VW chairman settles another market-manipulation case

Karin Matussek
Bloomberg

Volkswagen AG Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch settled a market-manipulation case that alleged he and other former executives informed markets too late about implications of its diesel-emissions rigging for Porsche Automobil Holding SE, VW’s majority shareholder.

Poetsch agreed to pay 1.5 million euros ($1.8 million) to end the case, a spokeswoman for Stuttgart prosecutors said by phone. The investigators also ended the probe against former VW CEO Matthias Mueller, who at the time also served on the Porsche board. He didn’t have to pay a fine. The probe against Martin Winterkorn, former CEO of both companies, will continue.

Hans Dieter Poetsch

“Porsche Automobil Holding’s supervisory board is still of the opinion that the board members didn’t violate their duties. The allegations are baseless,” the company said in a statement. “The board, after a diligent review and consideration, decided to cover the amount imposed on Mr. Poetsch.”

It’s the second investigation Poetsch settled. In May, he and VW CEO Herbert Diess agreed to pay 4.5 million euros to end the criminal case in a court in Braunschweig, after prosecutors there charged them alongside Winterkorn, alleging they delayed informing markets about the U.S. probe into the manipulation of diesel engines. VW also decided to cover those fines.

The diesel scandal, exposed by American regulators in September 2015, has cost the world’s largest automaker more than 30 billion euros.

Both VW and Porsche Automobil Holding are still facing civil suits from investors over the same allegations, claiming they lost money because the executives didn’t inform them in a timely manner about the scandal.