Former Porsche execs could soon face charges -report

FRANKFURT Sun Aug 5, 2012 7:33pm IST

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FRANKFURT Aug 5 (Reuters) - German prosecutors will soon decide whether to bring criminal charges of market manipulation against the former top management of German sportscar maker Porsche AG, magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Former Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking and former Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter have been subject to an investigation into alleged market manipulation and prosecutors have all but completed their case preparations, Der Spiegel reported on Sunday, without specifying its sources.

The city of Stuttgart's prosecutors office, Wiedeking and Haerter could not be reached for comment.

The two former executives and Porsche have repeatedly rejected the allegations and Der Spiegel cited their lawyers as saying the accusations were without merit.

Prosecutors in Stuttgart are about to give case files to the executives' lawyers and give them a chance to comment on the accusations but are otherwise ready to make their case, the magazine said.

The maximum penalty for the charges prepared against Wiedeking and Haerter is five years in prison, it said.

Wiedeking and Haerter have been accused of pursuing plans for Porsche to take over much larger carmaker Volkswagen while making repeated public statements to the contrary.

After chalking up billions of euros in debt following an unsuccessful attempt to buy Volkswagen, Porsche struggled to refinance in 2009 and was eventually forced to seek a rescue from Volkswagen.

The two car makers dropped merger plan last year because of U.S. and German investor lawsuits accusing Porsche of covertly amassing VW shares, causing short-sellers to lose billions.

But last month, VW and Porsche agreed a deal allowing VW to buy the remaining half of Porsche for 4.46 billion euros .

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Hendrik Sackmann; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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