Letter by Dr. Henning Wegener, former German Ambassador to Spain and Honorary Member of the WFI Executive Committee.
Subject: Destructive policies of the Volkswagen Group in dealing with the damages caused by the diesel scandal; necessity of an appeal for peaceful settlement and damage limitation.
As Chairman of the Management Board of the public interest Foundation Stichting Volkswagen Investors Claim I have sent an open letter to Ms. Brigitte Zypries, Minister for Economics and Energy.
Stichting Volkswagen Investors Claim strives for a rapid solution that is at the same time fair to the victims, and does not substantially prejudice the Volkswagen enterprise in its future financial possibilities and overall economic situation. Volkswagen AG could via a settlement come clean of its recent past, reestablish its image and reputation, and look to the future and shape it without the weight of its wrongdoings. With a view to such solution the Foundation has also concluded partnership agreements with the leading international investor protection associations – the World Federation of Investors, the European Federation of Investors and Financial Services Users (Better Finance) – and numerous national associations of investor protection.
I addressed myself to the Ministry for Economics and Energy because the position of VW in dealing with the consequences of the Diesel scandal has dramatically worsened. That makes our concept of a non-judicial solution even more relevant and more plausible. In this perspective it is difficult to understand – and indeed irresponsible – that the Volkswagen management shuts its eyes before the already visible avalanche of law suits and their incalculable consequences, and refuses to avail itself of opportunities to avoid or at least greatly diminish the colossal financial burdens inherent therein. Yet, they do exactly that. Up to this date, all contact initiatives of the Foundation have been blocked by management representatives. In the face of the growing swell of revelations and incriminations and the law suits initiated, every attempt at talks has been rejected, affirming – superficially, without offering any legal argument - that the Volkswagen AG has, at least in Germany, not committed any infraction of the laws, and that there is nothing to discuss or negotiate.
The Foundation believes that there is political and social responsibility with the Minister of Economy. The Government is facing an overriding economic challenge, the stakes being the financial health of a very important German company, but beyond that the credibility of the German State of Law. In addition, the first quality of investment venues of Germany in general, and Lower Saxony in particular, are at stake when considering the importance of ethical principles and good Corporate Governance.
The Foundation would welcome if Minister Zypries, in this sense, would make her influence felt with the Volkswagen management, and work for all possibilities of a peaceful settlement of compensation procedures.
In view of the high level of public interest in these matters this letter will be made public on the much-read web page of the Foundation.
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