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September 18, 2009

GERMANY: Ex-VW union head jailed for corruption

Former Volkswagen union boss Klaus Volkert has been jailed for nearly three years for his part in a sex and corruption scandal that rocked VW and corporate Germany.

Former Volkswagen union boss Klaus Volkert has been jailed for nearly three years for his part in a sex and corruption scandal that rocked VW and corporate Germany.

Volkert pocketed around EUR2m (US$3m) over 10 years in bribes from management to smooth industrial relations at the car giant.

A court in Leipzig rejected Volkert’s appeal against an original sentence handed down in 2008 as well as an appeal from personnel manager Klaus-Juergen Gebauer, who was jailed for a year.

The case dates from 2005 when it was revealed that VW had given bonuses to key labour leaders and paid for some of them to take exotic foreign trips and visit prostitutes.

In December 2007, former VW human resources head Peter Hartz was given a two-year suspended sentence and fined after admitting he had approved the payments to Volkert. Hartz avoided prison under an agreement with the prosecution that saw him give full testimony and admit paying bribes.

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