* Court discusses suits seeking 213 mln euros in damages
* Judge has "difficulties" with suitors' arguments
* Porsche faces more suits at Braunschweig court on May 21
BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany, May 14 A German court
expressed doubts on Wednesday about claims in multi-million
euro lawsuits against Porsche SE, in comments that
could undermine the efforts of others pushing for damages
against the company.
Investors seeking damages of more than 213 million euros
($292.03 million) have accused Porsche SE of camouflaging a plan
to acquire much-bigger Volkswagen AG and secretly
piling up a holding in Europe's biggest automaker in 2008.
The bulk of that - 212 million euros - is sought by
descendants of former German billionaire Adolf Merckle who
committed suicide in 2009 after his empire was rocked by
wrong-way bets on VW shares.
"We're having certain difficulties" in following the
suitors' arguments, Judge Stefan Puhle said after discussions on
two cases at the regional court in Braunschweig, Germany.
Two months ago, a court in Stuttgart dismissed a lawsuit by
hedge funds seeking 1.36 billion euros in damages from Porsche
SE on similar grounds, with the judge saying it could not be
proven that Porsche SE deliberately caused harm to hedge funds'
Two more suits seeking over 2 billion euros of damages from
Porsche SE are scheduled for hearings at the Braunschweig court
on May 21, with a ruling on three cases planned for July 30.
In March 2008 Porsche SE dismissed talk that it intended to
take over VW, but seven months later it announced it controlled
74.1 percent of VW's common stock, just short of the 75 percent
The announcement by Porsche SE, a family-controlled holding
company that owns a majority stake in VW, caused VW shares to
surge to record highs as short-sellers scrambled to cover their
Judge Puhle on Wednesday called Porsche's tactics "sly."
"This is called cleverness in German," he said.
($1 = 0.7294 Euros)
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Andreas Cremer; editing
by Susan Thomas)