VW Labor Rep Klaus Volkert Convicted on 48 Fraud Counts
While you were about to enjoy your weekend, a German court found former VW Labor rep Klaus Volkert guilty of 48 counts of incitement to fraud. Forbes reports that Volkert will face nearly three years in prison for his role in a long-running scheme which siphoned $3m in illegal "bonuses" from the German automaker's corporate coffers. Amongst other things, the money covered a $600k hush payment to Volkert's Brazilian lover and first-class international brothel excursions for Volkert and his union cronies (complete with Viagra prescribed by the company medical provider). Court testimony indicates that VW made the payments to ensure labor support for buying Bugatti and Bentley in 1998. "This is a crude case of class justice," Volkert's lawyer pronounced after the ruling. Although Volkert is obviously no working class hero, he may be taking the fall for corruption at the highest levels of VW management. Former Vee Dub exec Klaus-Joachim Gebauer– who received a one-year suspended sentence for his part in the scandal– testified that company Chairman Ferdinand Piech was aware of the "labor relations" slush fund. VW's CEO at the time and current Board Chairman has steadfastly maintained [s]implausible deniability[/s] his ignorance of the fund. If Piech was in the dark, it begs the question: why didn't he know?