MAN demands millions from Swedish ex-CEO
Published: 17 Jan 2011 16:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Jan 2011 16:47 GMT+01:00
Swedish businessman Håkan Samuelsson, the former CEO of German truckmaker MAN, has been ordered to pay €237 million in damages to his former employer for his alleged part in a major corruption scandal.
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The company also demanded sums from five other former managers totalling in the hundreds of millions, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.
But Samuelsson’s lawyer Wolf-Dieter von Gronau rejected the claim against the 59-year-old Swede as unfounded.
“It’s a completely ridiculous amount,” he told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.
Last year, the Munich public prosecutor’s office slapped MAN with a penalty of more than €150 million for years of paying bribes to obtain foreign contracts. The company spent another €70 million righting their books and conducting an internal corruption investigation.
Now the company’s board of directors, led by Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piëch, wants to hold its former leaders personally responsible for the damages, the paper said. VW owns 30 percent of MAN.
Though Samuelsson, former CFO Karlheinz Hornung, and the other managers stepped down in 2009 and were not personally implicated in the probe by Munich authorities, MAN has made the unusual choice to hold them liable for failing to prevent the corruption.
Piëch’s motto, according to the paper, is that battles aren’t won “with friendliness.”
“Probably no one (in a purely financial sense) has felt Piëch’s hardness as much as Hakan Samuelsson,” Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote.
It remains unclear whether MAN is attempting to cover the costs of a €200-million liability insurance policy taken out for its top managers, or whether, as Samuelsson’s lawyer claims, they are attempting to force a settlement, the paper said.