Porsche Board Members Said to Be Cleared in VW Options Probe

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Stuttgart prosecutors won’t file charges against Porsche SE Chairman Wolfgang Porsche and other members of the automaker’s 2008 supervisory board in a long-running probe over a failed attempt to take over Volkswagen AG, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The 12 men, who also include former Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech, had been investigated over whether they aided former Porsche Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiedeking and ex-Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the decision has not yet been disclosed. Wiedeking and Haerter will go on trial on market manipulation charges on Oct. 22.

Each has denied wrongdoing.

Porsche has faced a series of investigations and lawsuits since disclosing in October 2008 that it controlled 74.1 percent of Volkswagen, partly through options, and was seeking to acquire a controlling 75 percent stake. The announcement caused Volkswagen’s stock to jump as short sellers raced to buy shares to repay borrowed stock in bets that VW would fall.

Hunger Charged

While the board members weren’t indicted, Anton Hunger, Porsche’s former chief spokesman, was charged in the case, according to his lawyer, Barbara Livonius. She said she couldn’t comment on the allegations because she hasn’t received the full filing from prosecutors.

Gerhard Strate, a lawyer for Piech, and Claudia Krauth, spokeswoman for Stuttgart prosecutors, declined to comment. Daniel Krause, Wolfgang Porsche’s lawyer, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment. Albrecht Bamler, a spokesman for Porsche, declined to comment, saying the company hasn’t received notice of the decisions.

After starting to investigate Wiedeking and Haerter in 2009, prosecutors extended the probe three and a half years later to the supervisory board and Hunger.

Porsche’s works council, its labor representative body, disclosed yesterday that supervisory board deputy chairman Uwe Hueck had been cleared. He is also on the Volkswagen supervisory board.

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