The chamber had come to the conclusion that the information for the loan had not been correct, the presiding judge said in the verdict on tuesday in stuttgart. A co-defendant manager was also fined. The defense had pleaded for acquittal.
The public prosecutor’s office had demanded a custodial sentence of one year for harter. She had accused him of skimping on payments in order to get a loan. In concrete terms, this was about the takeover battle between the porsche umbrella company and volkswagen. Harter intends to appeal, as his lawyers explained.
In spring 2009, the french bank BNP paribas was involved in the follow-up financing of a 10-billion-euro loan. The credit institution itself did not feel damaged. However, the presiding judge emphasized that this was not decisive for the verdict. "It is irrelevant whether the false statements actually had an effect."
During the trial, the prosecution and the defense had always disputed the timing of harter’s credit disclosures. When the disputed information arrived, the bank had long since made its decision, the defense had argued. The prosecution saw things differently – as did the court. On tuesday, the court described the information as "relevant to the decision".
The court also found that harter and the bankers had understood the same thing in terms of central business management concepts. Harter had always denied this. The decisive factor in granting the loan was the future cash requirement that porsche needed to take over the remaining shares in VW – and the manager had simply underestimated this requirement. The presiding judge emphasized that the false statements were "no mere bagatelle".
Even after the verdict, harter is not out of legal trouble: he and his former boss wendelin wiedeking still have to reckon with a lawsuit for market manipulation. The charges have already been filed.
In the current case, however, the numerous technical terms – also at the chamber – had caused unnecessary confusion, said the presiding judge. "We had said right then "cash out of pocket", then it would have been easier for all involved."