• Germany's news in English
 

SAP billionaire defies Bill Gates over donation

Published: 21 Feb 2013 11:04 GMT+01:00

The Giving Pledge, started by Microsoft founder Gates and US investor Warren Buffett to encourage the extremely wealthy to promise to give half their wealth to good causes, announced this week that software mogul Plattner, one of Germany's richest men, had signed up.

But a disgruntled Plattner later said he had made no such commitment to give away half of his money.

"I feel Bill Gates has gone behind my back and used me," Plattner told regional newspaper the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten on Thursday.

The charity had quoted from a letter Plattner had wrote praising the practically free higher education he had received in Germany, and talking about wanting to give something back to society.

He and a handful of other billionaires including British tycoon Richard Branson, had signed up to the pledge, the letter said. A condition of joining is that the new member promises to give away at least half their wealth to good causes, although there is no stipulation of where the money goes.

Plattner, 69, is estimated to be worth more than €5 billion. He started a foundation to promote education and health care around 20 years ago - but has not filled it with half of his fortune, much of which is still tied up in SAP, the software firm he founded.

He said he was furious at The Giving Pledge organizers, telling the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten that he had not signed up, would not be bounced into doing so, as he intended to retain control of both his stake of SAP and how he funded good causes.

Yet on Wednesday evening SAP itself released a statement saying Plattner was pleased to have joined the Gates-Buffett foundation - seemingly contradicting him.

Just a few hours later he repeated his denial that he was signing up to the foundation.

"They can all write that I am a member of the foundation as far as I am concerned. But I know that I do not fulfil the criteria - whatever Bill Gates says. There is less than 20 percent of my fortune in my foundation," he said.

The Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten quoted a spokesman for The Giving Pledge saying that Gates knew about Plattner's social engagement and considered that this fulfilled the criteria.

"Gates will have to explain the rest," Plattner told the paper.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:01 February 21, 2013 by catjones
Plattner being duped by anyone is laughable. Plattner reneging is plausible.
16:29 February 21, 2013 by raandy
Catjones, absolutely agree with that.
03:01 February 22, 2013 by Eric1
It is not Bill Gates' business what Mr. Hasso Plattner does with his money. "Good causes" are usually leftist political groups.
Today's headlines
Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it
A fan visits the makeshift Michael Jackson memorial in Munich. Photo: DPA.

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it

A memorial set up in Germany by some of Michael Jackson's most ardent fans the day after his sudden 2009 death has come under threat in a strangely emotional turf war. READ  

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei arrived at Munich airport on Thursday, greeted by his son and son's mother, filmmaker Wang Fen. Photo: DPA.

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Munich on Thursday on his first overseas trip since he was arrested nearly four years ago, after Britain denied him a six-month visa because he did not declare a supposed "criminal conviction" on his application. READ  

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Photo: Wikipedia

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?

Frankfurt Airport is one of many places in Germany to offer women their own 'bigger and nicer' parking areas. Is this sensible practice or plain sexist? READ  

German offshore wind power breaks records
Turbines at the Norsee Ost farm in the North Sea. Photo: DPA

German offshore wind power breaks records

The amount of new offshore wind energy put on the grid in Germany in the first six months of 2015 has broken all previous annual records for Europe combined, a report released on Thursday shows. READ  

Unemployment hovers at historic low
A construction worker in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Unemployment hovers at historic low

German unemployment stayed at 6.4 percent in July, the lowest level since reunification almost a quarter century ago, despite an unexpected rise of 9,000 jobless, the federal labour office said on Thursday. READ  

Lifted by cheap fuel, Lufthansa triples profit
Photo: DPA

Lifted by cheap fuel, Lufthansa triples profit

German airline Lufthansa, still reeling from the crash of one of its Germanwings planes in March over the French Alps, said on Thursday it tripled net profit in the second quarter, helped by cheap fuel. READ  

Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Manuel Neuer. Photo: DPA

Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe

World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has faced a wave of derision on social media since giving a cringe-worthy interview to football magazine Kicker explaining his choice of commercial partners. READ  

Shoot-out near Ku'damm leaves bystander injured
Photo: DPA

Shoot-out near Ku'damm leaves bystander injured

A shoot-out near Germany's most iconic shopping street, the Kurfürstendamm in west Berlin, left an apparently innocent bystander injured after she was shot in the leg on Wednesday evening. READ  

Refugees live in fear of German far-right
A Pegida demonstration in Dresden in May. Photo: DPA

Refugees live in fear of German far-right

It's an astonishing statement for a refugee from war-torn Syria, but Taher has had enough of the xenophobia he has experienced in Germany. READ  

Germany heightens travel warning for Turkey
A view of Istanbul. Photo: DPA.

Germany heightens travel warning for Turkey

The German government has issued more severe warnings about travelling to Turkey after a string of terror attacks in the south of the country, and as Ankara intensifies conflict against two militias in Syria and Iraq. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,225
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd