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Porsche Automobil Holding SE has denied it intentionally misled investors over the severity of the VW emissions cheating crisis in 2015. With Volkswagen AG’s Chief Executive Officer Matthias Müller now personally caught up in the growing market manipulation investigation, it was only a matter of time before Porsche Automobil Holding released a statement to assure investors the board had done its job appropriately.
Müller’s joining of former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, supervisory board chair Hans Dieter Poetsch, and board member Herbert Diess as the focus of government probes has made the situation appear fishier than a trawler’s top deck. However, at this week’s annual shareholders meeting, Poetsch said he is convinced none of the board members are guilty of any wrongdoing — presumably, he included himself in the statement.
“We perceive all legal claims against Porsche SE relating to the diesel issue as unfounded,” he explained.
Unfounded or not, the board has a lot on its plate right now. Members are having to cope with separate investigations coming from Stuttgart and Braunschweig-based prosecutors while fielding questions from annoyed investors. In total, the holdings firm is facing 165 individual diesel-related lawsuits from investors for a combined sum of just over 1 billion dollars. That sum is entirely separate from the billions Volkswagen was forced to pay by the U.S. government and the countless lawsuits from disgruntled customers across the globe.
Porsche SE, which is almost entirely controlled by members of the Porsche-Piëch family, is also still reeling from an internal power struggle after long-time VW patriarch Ferdinand Piech alleged his cousin Wolfgang Porsche and other board members knowingly withheld information from the public. Most of the family has since turned on Piëch, and he has agreed to sell his 14.7 percent stake to his amazingly rich relatives.
According to Germany’s Stuttgarter Zeitung, Ferdinand Piëch was in attendance at Tuesday’s shareholders meeting, despite having been absent from the event for the past two years. When asked how long he would remain on the board, he remained quiet as Wolfgang Porsche explained that his cousin had agreed to “remain available” until the sale of his shares could be finalized. Curiously, nobody asked if Piëch was just there to silently gloat.
This article first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com