Status: 27/09/2023, 15:49 p.m.
The VW main plant in Wolfsburg is the focus of Braunschweig investigators. © Julian Stratenschulte / dpa
The public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig is investigating the allegation of excessive operating salaries against Volkswagen. Several offices and private homes are said to have been searched.
Wolfsburg - Volkswagen is once again in the focus of the public prosecutor's office because of allegations of excessive works council salaries. On Tuesday, there had been several searches in this context, said a spokesman for the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office on Wednesday: "The background is salary payments to works council members in violation of the prohibition of favoritism of the Works Constitution Act." Previously, the Wolfsburger Allgemeine had reported on it.
Several offices at VW searched
According to information from corporate circles, several offices were searched at VW and documents and data were seized. In addition, according to the public prosecutor's office, four private apartments "that have nothing to do with VW" were also searched. A VW spokesperson said, "we confirm that on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, there was a search of offices at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg by the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office". The Volkswagen Group is cooperating fully with the investigating authorities.
The background to this is the proceedings that have been ongoing for years on suspicion of excessive works council salaries at Volkswagen. At the beginning of this year, the criminal senate of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) overturned acquittals for four former VW personnel managers, whom the public prosecutor's office accuses of embezzlement because they are said to have granted works councils too high salaries. Now the proceedings before the Braunschweig Regional Court, which had initially acquitted the four, must be reopened.
VW works council criticises contradictory case law
VW has cut the salaries of several dozen works councils after the BGH ruling. Numerous of those affected have filed a lawsuit against this before the labor court, almost all of whom have been proven right there so far. Of 17 decisions, 16 were in favor of the plaintiff works councils, said a works council spokesman.
From this, a clear tendency can be seen that the labor courts see the matter differently than the criminal division of the Federal Court of Justice. The VW works council criticized this contradictory jurisprudence: "Something is required under labor law that can at the same time be at risk under criminal law." The legislature must put an end to this state of affairs with a clarification. (dpa, lf)