Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech has denied any knowledge of payments made to workers representatives in return for their support on management decisions when he was chief executive of the company.

Piech gave testimony at the trial of former of former works council chief Klaus Volkert and former personnel manager Klaus-Joachim Gebauer who are accused of inciting breach of trust and breach of trust respectively, by mis-using company funds.

"I did not concern myself with this," Piech told the court, according to Reuters. "I was at no point during my time on the executive board aware of the abuse of expenses by the works council," he said.

Volkert and Gebauer's lawyers hope to get more lenient sentences for the defendants by proving that Piech knew of the payments, and that this was therefore ingrained company policy.