German prosecutors charge ex-Porsche chiefs

December 19, 2012 - 9:33 AM
Germany Porsche

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2009 file photo former chief executive of Porsche, Wendelin Wiedeking attends a general meeting at the Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart, Germany. German prosecutors have charged two former Porsche executives with market manipulation in connection with the sports car company's failed takeover of Volkwagen AG. Prosecutors in Porsche's home city of Stuttgart say former chief executive Wiedeking and ex-chief financial officer Holger Haerter made misleading statements about the company's intentions in 2008. A statement issued by prosecutors Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, accuses the pair of denying up until Oct. 2008 their intention to increase Porsche's stake in VW despite having decided to do so six months earlier. (AP Photo/dapd, Sascha Schuermann, File)

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors have charged two former Porsche executives with market manipulation in connection with the sports car company's failed takeover of Volkswagen AG, officials said Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Porsche's home city of Stuttgart accuse former chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking and ex-chief financial officer Holger Haerter of making misleading statements about the company's intentions in 2008.

Porsche made at least five public statements denying they intended to increase their stake in Volkswagen AG to 75 percent, despite having decided to do so at least six months earlier, prosecutors said in a statement.

The denials caused VW's share price to drop at a time when Porsche was secretly preparing to buy stock in Europe's largest automobile maker, the prosecutors said.

Lawyers for Wiedeking and Haerter denied the charges against their clients and said an independent expert had dismissed the claim that VW shares suffered as a result of Porsche's statements.

Porsche's bid for Volkswagen failed, and VW eventually turned the tables to take over Porsche instead.