* Braunschweig prosecutor says probing works council pay
* VW says pay conforms with German rules
* VW works council says has been informed of probe
(Adds comments from works council head in paper)
By Jan Schwartz
HAMBURG, May 12 German prosecutors are
investigating current and former executives at Volkswagen
on suspicion that they paid works council chief
Bernd Osterloh an excessive salary.
In Germany, wasting corporate funds is legally a breach of
"I can confirm that the Braunschweig prosecutor's office
currently has a case on early suspicion of breach of fiduciary
trust," Braunschweig prosecutor Julia Meyer said in an emailed
She declined to name any suspects or provide details of the
Volkswagen said its pay for works council members conformed
with German rules and that external legal experts had confirmed
that Osterloh's remuneration was appropriate.
The Volkswagen works council separately said it had been
informed about the probe against current and former company
representatives, whom it also did not name.
Works council chief Osterloh receives a salary equivalent to
a business unit manager at Volkswagen, which is below that of a
management board member, it said.
"Had he decided to accept an offer to become head of
personnel, his remuneration would have been significantly
higher. He instead decided to continue to devote his time to the
workforce," it said in a statement.
In an interview with the Braunschweiger Zeitung, Osterloh
said he felt at ease with the level of his salary.
He told the paper his basic pay was around 200,000 euros,
not including bonuses, meaning his pay had peaked one year at
around 750,000 euros, though it was much lower now. He added he
had told the company in 2015 following the dieselgate scandal
that he wanted his bonus to be cut by the same percentage as the
workforce's bonus payments.
"If it was about wanting more money I would no longer be
head of the works council but would be head of personnel," he
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing
by Elaine Hardcastle, Greg Mahlich)