Faurecia’s former chief executive is facing a three-year suspended jail sentence and a hefty fine in a corruption case, state prosecutors in Frankfurt we reported to have said on Tuesday.

Pierre Levi resigned last year after it was revealed that the PSA components unit had distributed about EUR1.25m ($US1.69m) in bribes to staff at the Volkswagen group and BMW since 2001, Reuters said.

“The sentence will become legally binding, it just isn’t yet,” a spokeswoman for the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office told the news agency, adding that the court and Levi’s attorney had already signalled their consent to the sentence.

The EUR300,000 ($405,000) fine, to be distributed to various charitable organisations, is expected to be paid in the next six months, the spokeswoman told Reuters.

The prosecutor’s office reportedly said the “relatively mild” punishment was due to the fact that Levi neither profited from nor instigated the bribery, but inherited the problem after acquiring a firm and did not stop the payments for fear that business relations would suffer.

Another 22 suspects are under investigation as part of the scandal, the prosecutor’s office told Reuters.