The Stuttgart Regional Court in Germany has fined former Porsche chief financial officer Holger Haerter EUR630,000 ($824,000) after finding him guilty of credit fraud in a criminal case over the refinancing of a EUR10-billion loan during a botched attempt bid to acquire Volkswagen in 2009.
Public prosecutors in Stuttgart had sought a three-year suspended prison sentence plus a EUR1 million fine, while Haerter's lawyers had batted for an acquittal. The German court ordered Haerter to pay 180 daily installments of EUR3,500 for making incomplete and wrong statements on the value of VW share derivatives held by Porsche.
Presiding Judge Roderich Martis said Haerter downplayed the liquidity needs of Porsche and failed to reveal the correct number of put options on VW shares that Porsche held during discussions with BNP Paribas over the bank’s EUR500-million share of the syndicated loan.
Martis said the information given by the defendants was wrong. He said that it doesn't matter that the defendants provided the correct information earlier in the process. He noted that in normal life, a lie doesn't disappear just because the truth was once said before.
Haerter said he would appeal the conviction, saying that "many things said were wrong.” The case was the first criminal verdict in a number of proceedings related to Porsche’s failed VW takeover bid. Porsche is currently facing civil actions seeking a total of around EUR5.5 billion in Germany. Local prosecutors have extended their market-manipulation probe to include the 2008 members of Porsche's supervisory board. [source: Bloomberg]