Daimler hit with EADS insider trading charges

French judges have charged the German auto giant Daimler in an insider trading scandal centring on the European defence group EADS, a judicial official said Thursday.

Daimler hit with EADS insider trading charges
Photo: DPA

Investigating judges are charging Daimler, a key shareholder in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), with insider trading in a high-profile case relating to the sale of EADS shares in 2005 and 2006, the official, who asked not to be named, told news agency AFP.

Daimler called the charges “very unusual” and “hardly comprehensible.”

Daimler sold a 7.5 percent stake of EADS in April 2006. Two months later the group’s star company, plane maker Airbus, announced a major delay to deliveries of its A380 passenger jet, which dragged EADS share prices down.

Major French media and defence company Lagardere has also been charged in the case after selling a 7.5 percent stake in EADS at the same time.

Former EADS co-chairman Noel Forgeard and senior Airbus executive John Leahy are among several top managers charged in the scandal which broke in 2008. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Forgeard stepped down in July 2006 amid mounting pressure over the A380 delays and his decision to exercise share options earlier in the year.

On Thursday, Daimler noted that the French financial markets watchdog, the Autorité des marchés financiers, had looked into the matter regarding EADS early last year and found the German group had committed no violations.

Daimler said it was “confident this affair will also have a favourable outcome” for the group.

Daimler, owner of Mercedes Benz, makes luxury cars and is the world leader in heavy truck manufacturing.

In Berlin Wednesday, the government said it would host a meeting on the future of EADS on February 23, amid reports that Daimler wanted to sell its remaining 15 percent stake.

Daimler holds 15 percent of EADS and 22.5 percent of its voting rights, but appears to be preparing its exit.

The firm could even get rid of its holdings this year, the Financial Times Deutschland has reported.

AFP/The Local/adn

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.