A Stuttgart court threw out market manipulation charges against former Porsche SE Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiedeking, imperiling multiple probes over the company’s failed bid to use options to acquire Volkswagen AG.
Prosecutors’ request to try the case against Wiedeking and ex-Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter was rejected by judges yesterday, court spokesman Reiner Skujat said. The charges were filed in December 2012 and prosecutors extended their probe last year to supervisory board members including Ferdinand Piech and Wolfgang Porsche.
“The court found that there wasn’t enough evidence backing up the charges,” Skujat said in a phone interview. “With the evidence at hand, from today’s perspective an acquittal is more likely than a conviction, so the case couldn’t move to trial.”
Porsche has faced a series of investigations and lawsuits since disclosing in October 2008 that it had access to 74.1 percent of Volkswagen AG, partly through cash settled options, and was seeking to acquire 75 percent as part of a takeover strategy. The announcement caused Volkswagen’s stock to jump as short sellers raced to buy shares to repay borrowed stock in bets that VW would fall.
Stefan Biehl, a spokesman for Stuttgart prosecutors, said his office will analyze the ruling before commenting. Porsche spokesman Albrecht Bamler said the allegations against Wiedeking and Haerter are unfounded.