An investigation into an alleged corruption scandal at Europe’s biggest car-maker has stepped up a gear. The former head of Volkswagen’s works committee has been arrested at his home near the company’s headquarters in the German town of Wolfsburg. Police say Klaus Volkert faces a charge of breach of trust and has been taken into custody in order to protect potential evidence. Volkert, who stepped down last year, is accused of trying to bribe VW’s former personnel manager, Klaus Joachim Gebauer in return for favourable but false testimony in court. Its claimed Gebauer was told his legal fees would be paid.
It comes less than a week after the company’s head of personnel, Peter Hartz, was charged with 44 counts of breach of trust and with providing backhanders worth almost two million euros to Volkert. The scandal, which revolves around whether VW managers and members of the works council received illegal privileges, comes at a difficult time for Volkswagen.
The troubled car-maker has announced plans to cut four thousand jobs at its Forest plant on the outskirts of Brussels, leaving only 15 hundred employed there.