Two more former Volkswagen executives have been charged in relation to the long-running sex and bribery scandal at the company.

The former head of the Volkswagen works council, Klaus Volkert, was charged yesterday on 48 counts of incitement to breach of trust, while former personnel manager, Klaus Joachim Gebauer has been charged on 40 counts of breach of trust and one of incitement to breach of trust.

A trial is due to take place in the summer. If convicted the two main could face up to five years in prison and fine.

In January, former senior VW manager Peter Hartz received a suspended two-year sentence and an EUR576,000 fine for his role in the scandal, which first emerged in June 2005.

The scandal concerned accepting bribes from potential suppliers and the creation of dummy companies to secure foreign contracts, but it spread to include claims about prostitutes paid for with company funds.

Under German law, works council leaders need to be consulted on major company decisions, and the case is seen as indicative of the lengths company management will go to in  order to keep labour bosses on their side.