You may read a lot about cars, performance and cost but sometimes the story behind the scenes is just as interesting, take this guy. His name is Wendelin Weideking, a former Porsche CEO who was ousted from the company a few years back after leading an unsuccessful attempt to buy Volkswagen, circa 2008.
Wendelin apparently paid himself 50 million euros a year when he ran Porsche, nobody bated an eyelid, Porsche was seeing unprecedented sales success and when you are successful you have the great and the sycophants licking your feet and agreeing to everything without question. Sounds like another successful German leader doesn’t it.
When you are in this environment “things” happen and according to a Stuttgart appeals court things did happen and that’s why the former Porsche CEO must now stand trial for market share manipulation during Wendelin’s failed bid to take over VW. In other words fraud.
Its been a grim time for Porsche’s public relations ever since, the company has faced a series of lawsuits and investigations after Wendelin tried to mastermind a take over of VW by surreptitiously buying VW stock via third parties. When Porsche went public in 2008 about its plan VW’s stock rocketed as hedge funds began buying an estimated $24 billion dollars worth of shares, they were effectively betting against VW’s shares.
The demand for VW’s shares only increased the stock value further still but this didn’t deter the hedge funds and VW became one of the most valuable company’s in the world. This in turn increased Porsche’s value to over $100bn dollars, far exceeding its net turnover by many, many times. The hedge funds lost out big time. One US investor worth billions more or less lost everything, his 100,000 employees, his reputation and eventually his life by committing suicide.
Wendelin is now going to be tried in a German court, the allegations are that he hid his intentions of the planned takeover from the market and allowed the share price to continue to rise from which he could potentially profit by selling his own personal allocation of shares.
The Stuttgart Higher court overturned a previous decision by a lower court that did not proceed any further due to a lack of evidence. But prosecutors have found a smoking gun and allege that it seems quite possible there was “hidden intent”. Wendelin’s lawyers deny this but either way, he will face his day in court and the wrath of investors who are suing Porsche for billions of dollars.