Here’s an example of damage control –of sorts. Germany’s Volkswagen AG is being rocked by a huge scandal involving its former head of personnel, Peter Hartz, who has admitted operating a slush fund that permitted union friends, fellow executives and politicians to spend lavish amounts of money on luxury trips, gifts for “girlfriends” and visits to brothels in Germany, Spain and South Africa. Hartz pleaded guilty in a German court last week to paying €2m in bribes over a 10-year period to Klaus Volkert, former head of Volkswagen’s works council. He told the court that Volkswagen head Ferdinand Piech agreed to the payments but did not know the exact amount. There will be much more fallout from this admission, I suspect.
For now, however, the company breathed a big sigh of relief over the plea bargain struck with Hartz. As a result, the prosecution agreed that no prostitutes would be called as witnesses. There are some very lucky fellows sitting across from their wives at the dinner table tonight in Germany.