• Germany's news in English

SAP billionaire defies Bill Gates over donation

The Local · 21 Feb 2013, 11:04

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd