Volkswagen and unions reject accusations over works council payments

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FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and its unions on Wednesday rebuffed accusations that the carmaker’s high labor consultant has been overpaid, searching for to calm the waves a day after prosecutors and tax investigators raided the places of work of senior VW officers.

FILE PHOTO: Bernd Osterloh, head of Volkwagen’s works council, addresses a information convention on the firm’s headquarters in Wolfburg, Germany October 6, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The newest troubles add to a string of authorized battles greater than two years into the VW diesel emissions scandal and solely weeks after European Union and German antitrust officers had swooped on the corporate and rival carmakers over suspicions of collusion.

VW and the works council stated in separate statements on Wednesday that funds to Bernd Osterloh, the carmaker’s labor chief, have been in step with authorized pointers. Osterloh’s workplace was raided on Tuesday together with these of VW’s finance chief and head of personnel.

Osterloh and fellow members of VW’s supervisory board are attributable to meet on Friday to ratify administration’s spending plans for the following 5 years to additional the corporate’s purpose of reworking itself right into a world chief in inexperienced transport.

The raid by prosecutors and tax officers was associated to suspected overpayment and associated tax evasion, an individual acquainted with the matter stated, referring to the potential for overpayment to lead to larger working bills and the fee of too little tax.

However below Germany’s company tax legislation, corporations are entitled to declare solely 50 % of the remuneration of supervisory board members for tax functions, a tax professor at Berlin’s Free College stated.

“It stays to be seen whether or not suspected tax fraud impressed this motion,” the professor stated on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter and declined to elaborate.

VW shares have been down zero.eight % at 154 euros by 1323 GMT.

“If wrongdoing is discovered we’d count on many of the warmth to fall on the people concerned,” stated Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, who has an “outperform” score on the inventory.

A spokesman for Braunschweig prosecutors stated the raids included the seizure of potential proof however declined to touch upon the rationale for the searches and the people focused.

The workplace of VW chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, who in his capability as CEO of VW’s majority shareholder Porsche SE (PSHG_p.DE) has been investigated by Stuttgart prosecutors for suspected violation of disclosure guidelines, was not searched, a spokesman stated on Wednesday, revising feedback made late on Tuesday.

Each Volkswagen and the works council stated they’re assured that Osterloh’s remuneration could be discovered to be compliant with the legislation.

Requests by Reuters to talk with Osterloh, VW group finance chief Frank Witter and human assets chief Karlheinz Blessing weren’t answered.

The works council added that Osterloh himself was not the goal of the investigation, however a public debate about his pay might be damaging when he seeks re-election as works council chairman subsequent March, analysts stated.

It was revealed in Could that German prosecutors have been investigating present and former executives at VW on suspicion that they paid Osterloh an extreme wage.

Osterloh informed a newspaper on the time that his fundamental pay was about 200,000 euros ($237,000) and that bonuses had lifted it to a peak of 750,000 euros in a single 12 months.

In Germany, losing company funds will be an unlawful breach of fiduciary obligation.

($1 = zero.8445 euros)

Reporting by Tom Sims and Andreas Cremer; Enhancing by David Goodman; Enhancing by Georgina Prodhan and David Goodman

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