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VW logo in Wolfsburg

Photo: Leon Kuegeler / photothek / IMAGO

At VW in Wolfsburg, there has been a search because of the accusation of excessive works council salaries. "The background is salary payments to works council members in violation of the prohibition of favoritism of the Works Constitution Act," said a spokesman for the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office on request. In this context, there were several searches on Tuesday. First, the »Wolfsburger Allgemeine« had reported on it.

According to information from corporate circles, several offices were searched at VW and documents and data were seized. The operation lasted several hours. In addition, according to the public prosecutor's office, four private apartments "that have nothing to do with VW" were also searched. These were "partly also searches of unsuspected persons".

The background to this is the proceedings that have been ongoing for years on suspicion of excessive works council salaries at Volkswagen. At the beginning of this year, the criminal senate of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) overturned acquittals for four former VW personnel managers, whom the public prosecutor's office accuses of embezzlement because they are said to have granted works councils too high salaries. Now the proceedings before the Braunschweig Regional Court, which had initially acquitted the four, must be reopened.

"We confirm that on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, there was a search of offices at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg by the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office," a VW spokesman said on request. "The Volkswagen Group is cooperating fully with the investigating authorities. Against the background of the ongoing proceedings, we do not comment further than that." The public prosecutor's office also did not want to give any further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

VW had cut the salaries of several dozen works councils after the BGH ruling. Numerous affected persons complained to the labour court, at least four of whom have already won their case. The VW works council criticizes this contradictory jurisprudence: "Something is required under labor law, which at the same time can be at risk under criminal law," said a spokesman after a corresponding ruling by the Braunschweig Labor Court. "The legislature must end this state of affairs with a clarification."