German manslaughter probe launched at Daimler CEO

FRANKFURT, Sept 16 Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:07pm IST

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FRANKFURT, Sept 16 (Reuters) - German public prosecutors have started investigating Daimler (DAIGn.DE) Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche on suspicions of involuntary manslaughter involving the fatal accident of a 27-year-old engineer caused by an intern on a test track.

"There is an investigation," senior public prosecutor Alexander Retemeyer told Reuters on Friday, confirming a report in German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung.

"It is highly doubtful that the chief executive personally can be held responsible for this, however."

A spokesman for Daimler said the company was not informed of any investigation, and if there was one, it should be directed at the group's management board and not Zetsche personally.

The Stuttgarter Zeitung reported earlier that the parents of the 27-year old engineer felt the company should not have put the intern behind the wheel of a fast car on a test track.

"There is already a ruling from the district court in Papenburg in which the judge expressly found that Daimler could not be held at fault in any way for the accident," the Daimler spokesman added. (Reporting by Andreas Kroener)

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