Former Porsche execs acquitted of stock manipulation charges

A German court acquitted former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and former CFO Holger Härter of stock manipulation charges, according to Bloomberg. Prosecutors alleged the men hid plans to takeover Volkswagen while publicly denying their intentions to investors. The presiding judge didn't find any merit to those claims, though.

"There is nothing to the allegations, absolutely nothing," Judge Frank Maurer said, according to Bloomberg. "There was no secret plan to take over VW."

Rather than Porsche taking over VW, the exact opposite eventually happened, and both execs stepped down. Investigators first indicted Wiedeking and Härter for alleged stock manipulation in late 2012. A court in Stuttgart dismissed the case in 2014 because of a lack of evidence, but an appeals court later overruled that decision. The current trial finally began in October 2015. If convicted, Wiedeking faced up to 30 months in prison, and Härter could have received up to 27 months, Bloomberg reported. Prosecutors also wanted one million euro ($1.1 million) fines from them and 807 million euros ($910 million) from Porsche.

The acquittal might not be the end of this long-running case, though. In Germany, prosecutors have the right to appeal a ruling, and the lawyer hasn't made a final decision yet. If the court thinks there's a reason, the former execs could be back in front of a judge at some point in the future.

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