STUTTGART, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Former Porsche SE finance chief Holger Haerter denied allegations he defrauded French bank BNP Paribas in loan negotiations in early 2009.
“The accusations are demonstrably false,” Haerter said on the first day of trial in a Stuttgart court.
Public prosecutors in Stuttgart, where Porsche is based, have said they suspect Haerter and two other Porsche employees misled BNP on Porsche’s liquidity needs and the risks of equity options business as they negotiated for refinancing from BNP.
The three men could face three years in prison if they are found guilty. Twenty days of hearings have been set aside for the trial which begins as Haerter and former Porsche SE chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking wait to find out whether German prosecutors will charge them with market manipulation of Volkswagen shares.
There are also still separate legal proceedings affecting Porsche SE, the publicly traded holding company that still owns 50.7 percent of Volkswagen’s ordinary shares.
Last month, a New York state court rejected a motion by Porsche SE to dismiss a $1.4 billion-plus lawsuit brought by 26 hedge funds alleging fraud and unjust enrichment stemming from its trading in Volkswagen’s shares four years ago. (Reporting by Hendrik Sackmann; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Dan Lalor)