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GERMANY: Arrest made in VW corruption scandal

by Benjamin DierksThe Guardian (UK)
November 21st, 2006

The investigation into the corruption scandal at Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, tightened today with the arrest of Klaus Volkert, the firm's former head of the works council.

Mr Volkert's arrest came a week after prosecutors in Braunschweig, near VW's Wolfsburg headquarters, charged former Volkswagen personnel director Peter Hartz with 44 counts of breach of trust. Prosecutors said today they sought Mr Volkert's arrest because they saw a danger that evidence could be suppressed.

Mr Volkert, a central figure in the scandal, is suspected of inciting breach of trust. Like Mr Hartz, he resigned last year shortly after accusations against 12 VW managers and members of the work council had been made public. Prosecutors believe that Mr Volkert received illegal bonuses worth 2m (1.3m).

The investigation centres on whether VW managers and members of its works council received illegal privileges including lavish foreign trips and sex parties paid for by the company.

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