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New evidence found against former CEO Winterkorn

  • 29 Jan 17

German investigators have raided various offices around VW’s headquarters and possibly also the private home of Winterkorn in Munich. In addition, the prosecutors have received information from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean which allows them to start prosecuting the former CEO and CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch as well as the Head of the VW brand Herbert Diess. The number of defendants has been increased from 21 to 37. VW’s market value fell by more than €40bn between Ferdinand Piech’s remark that he was ‘at distance’ to Martin Winterkorn in mid-April 2015 to mid-September of that year when the US authorities made their inquiry into Dieselgate public. The market value fell by another €30bn in the following two to three weeks. If it is proved that Winterkorn and Poetsch knew well before mid September about the issue, investors will have a good chance of being compensated. The State of Lower Saxony continues to reject any claims, but other shareholders have already claimed compensation. Whether this includes the Porsche/Piech family is unclear, but some members of the family clan are unlikely to accept the financial loss. Finally, it is uncertain what the Qatar Investment Authority will do. Assuming all core shareholders will not claim anything, but the freefloat of ordinary and preferred shareholders will ask for compensation, the amount will be between €14bn (the lost market value of their shares in the days after the announcement) and €35bn (the lost market value since Ferdinand Piech’s above-mentioned statement). The latter number wipes almost 50% off the group’s expected shareholders’ funds as of the end of 2016.