Vw strikes out against ex-fbi boss

Vw strikes out against ex-fbi boss

Volkswagen suspects former FBI chief louis freeh of betraying secrets and wants to thwart his appointment as an expert witness in damages suits in the u.S.

After a career in public service, the former head of the U.S. Federal bureau of investigation worked as a legal mediator in business scandals – at VW, he had the prospect of a consulting contract in early 2016 and was supposed to help clear up the diesel scandal.

But it did not come to that. Now freeh is active for lawyers private lawsuit. The wolfsburg accusation: he allegedly passed on or even sold internal management information to them, as the online business magazine "business insider" reported on wednesday.

At volkswagen, it was said that freeh would not be called in as an expert in diesel lawsuits in the united states. A corresponding application had been filed with a court in san francisco. There is clear evidence to suggest that he provided his current clients with confidential documents and statements from the time of the negotiations with the german group.

Court filing says freeh demanded $15 million in guaranteed payments four years ago to represent VW in U.S. Lawsuit. In addition, he had wanted an additional 10 percent of all the "savings" he had been able to procure for the company during the negotiations. VW has rejected this.

Actually, the main trials surrounding "dieselgate" in the U.S.A. Are now over. Following an admission of guilt, also under criminal law, for the emissions fraud, VW agreed to a settlement worth billions with the government in washington at the beginning of 2017. Numerous customers and traders were also indemnified – in contrast to the situation in europe – and the group has now booked more than 30 billion euros in legal costs. However, some plaintiffs rejected the settlements and continue to try to hold VW accountable in court. In san francisco, such an "opt-out" trial is currently pending, in which freeh could testify as an expert witness.

However, the people from wolfsburg see a serious conflict of interest in the expert opinion. Because the ex-prosecutor who is now representing the plaintiff’s side fell through at VW in january 2016 due to his high fee demands and after resistance from the works council. One of his lawyers told the magazine that they are working on a response to VW’s request that freeh not be admitted as an expert. So far this counter is not yet available. Judge charles breyer has given the plaintiffs a deadline until 27. January set to take a stand. The next hearing is scheduled for 6. February will take place.

Freeh, now 70, who was director of the FBI during bill clinton’s term as U.S. President (1993 to 2001), has also been active as a "watchdog" for U.S. Authorities after a slush fund affair at daimler, where he sat on an "integrity advisory board". At rival volkswagen, on the other hand, larry thompson, once secretary of state at the u.S. Department of justice, is overseeing the implementation of stricter rules of conduct and information requirements that the automaker agreed to after the diesel scandal was exposed. Thompson gave VW an improved interim report last september, to be followed by his final report in the summer. According to VW, freeh also applied for thompson’s job as "monitor" three years ago.

In court documents, the company’s lawyers portray the ex-FBI chief as a kind of greedy soldier who changes sides for the right fee. To testify as an expert against VW, freeh should receive a payment of 50 000 dollars. In addition, he was paid 1850 dollars for each hour of his labor. "Moreover, mr. Freeh’s opinion on the matter is itself improper and should not be admitted."Freeh had received "privileged and confidential" information from VW, which disqualified him as an expert witness.

Volkswagen considers the entire pending litigation in san francisco to be a manover of particularly hard-nosed plaintiffs and lawyers who speculated on an "unjustified" additional profit. More than 99.9 percent of customers in the u.S. Had accepted the settlement, which judge breyer called "fair, reasonable and adequate," and settled their claims for damages, said a u.S. Spokesman for the carmaker. The plaintiff, on the other hand, believes that VW has not been punished severely enough in the settlements with customers and authorities in the U.S. – and calls for further consequences.