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InvestmentsGerman prosecutors widen Continental investigation to executives By Reuters

German prosecutors widen Continental investigation to executives By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Wolfgang Schaefer, CFO of German tyre firm Continental poses for media earlier than the annual information convention in Hanover, Germany, March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

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HAMBURG (Reuters) -German prosecutors have widened their investigation at automotive provider Continental AG (OTC:) to embody former Chief Executive Elmar Degenhart and finance chief Wolfgang Schaefer, whose shock departure was introduced late on Wednesday.

The automotive elements maker is among the producers below investigation on suspicion of hiding unlawful ranges of air pollution following a regulatory clampdown on poisonous fumes triggered by Volkswagen (DE:)’s 2015 admission that it had cheated emissions checks.

The software program used within the 1.6 litre diesel engine Volkswagen developed on the market in Europe got here from Continental, although the provider has mentioned it was not concerned within the manipulation as engine controls are programmed by shoppers themselves.

The people now below investigation are suspected of breach of belief, failure to fulfil supervisory duties and being an adjunct to fraud, the Hanover prosecutor’s workplace mentioned on Thursday.

The folks below investigation additionally embody a former board member of Continental’s Powertrain unit and two workers under board stage, prosecutors mentioned, with out naming the individuals.

“This development shook us,” Continental’s works council mentioned in a press release.

“We at Continental are paying dearly for the focus on profit at any price. Therefore, we call for a return to what the company stands for: trust, reliability, transparency and openness. We demand a new start with more courage to be honest,” it mentioned.

Continental, Degenhart and Schaefer declined to remark.

Shares in Continental have been down 3.3% by 1145 GMT.

Continental mentioned late on Wednesday dismiss its Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Schaefer it might exchange Schaefer as finance chief, and that Chief Executive Nikolai Setzer would take over his tasks for now.

The investigators had already searched Continental’s compliance division in Frankfurt and a personal residence that was not Schaefer’s flat earlier in November, a spokesperson for the authorities mentioned on Thursday.

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