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Probe into Porsche stock manipulation widens

German prosecutors said on Tuesday they have extended their probe into suspected stock price manipulation at sports car maker Porsche.

Probe into Porsche stock manipulation widens
Photo: DPA

The investigation had now been widened to include “everyone who sat on the supervisory board of Porsche’s holding company between March and October 2008, as well as a former employee,” a spokesman for prosecutors said.

That means that Ferdinand Piech, supervisory board chief of Europe’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen, Porsche supervisory board boss Wolfgang Porsche and works council head Uwe Hück are now implicated in the probe.

The accused are being investigated on suspicion of “complicity to manipulate the market,” the spokesman added.

In December, prosecutors charged Porsche’s former chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking and former finance chief Holger Härter with manipulating Porsche’s share price in connection with the – ultimately unsuccessful – attempt to take over Volkswagen.

Wiedeking and Härter allegedly made false statements in public with regard to Porsche’s intentions in 2008. Both Wiedeking and Härter deny the charges.

The prosecutors argue that Porsche issued at least five public statements between March and October 2008 publicly denying the plans, even though preparations for the takeover were already underway.

It was not until several months later that Porsche revealed in a surprise statement its takeover plans, sending the share price rocketing.

Porsche’s bid to acquire the much-bigger VW eventually unravelled, leaving the luxury sports carmaker with more than €10 billion in debt.

The two companies then made a fresh attempt to tie the knot in 2009, with VW initially acquiring 49.9 percent in Porsche in the first stage of the complex takeover agreement, the completion of which ran into a number of legal and tax hurdles.

Last year, a German court rejected two compensation claims brought against Porsche by investors who felt duped by the company over the tie-up.

AFP/jcw

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COURTS

Woman on trial over killing spree at Potsdam care home

The trial began on Tuesday of a woman accused of stabbing four residents to death and severely injuring another at a German care home for disabled people where she worked outside Berlin.

Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam.
Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Soeren Stache

Named as Ines Andrea R., the 52-year-old suspect is charged with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder following the bloodbath at the Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus facility in Potsdam, Brandenburg, in April.

The victims, two women and two men aged between 31 and 56, were found dead in their rooms after being stabbed with a knife, with police saying they had been subjected to “intense, extreme violence”.

Ines Andrea R. is also accused of trying to kill two further residents and of seriously injuring another, a woman aged 43.

She was detained immediately after the incident and placed in urgent psychiatric care due to what prosecutors described as “pertinent evidence” of severe mental illness.

Around 100 police officers were involved in recovering evidence at the scene.

READ ALSO: Women in custody over killings at Potsdam disabled home

The Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus, run by the Lutheran Church’s social welfare service, specialises in helping those with physical and mental disabilities, including blind, deaf and severely autistic patients.

It offers live-in care as well as schools and workshops.

Around 65 people live at the residence, which employs more than 80 people.

Germany has seen a number of high-profile murder cases from care facilities.

In the most prominent trial, nurse Niels Högel was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison for murdering 85 patients in his care.

READ ALSO: Missed chances: How Germany’s killer nurse got away with 85 murders

Högel, believed to be Germany’s most prolific serial killer, murdered patients with lethal injections between 2000 and 2005, before he was eventually caught in the act.

Last year, a Polish healthcare worker was sentenced to life in prison in Munich for killing at least three people with insulin.

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