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Corporate Governance – portrayed in the individual cultural and legal framework, from the standpoint of equity capital.

VIPsight is a dynamic photo archive, sorted by nations and dates, by and for those interested in CG from all over the world.

VIPsight offers, every month:
transparent and independent current information / comments / facts and figures on corporate governance locally and internationally,

  • written by local CG experts,
  • selected and structured by the Club of Florence,
  • financed by its initiator VIP and other sponsors with a background of “Equity and Advisory” interests.

VIPsight International

Article Index




Conergy and MEMC have settled their lawsuit about the validity of the Wafer Supply Agreements out of court and agreed to further amendment of this agreement. The supply contract for silicon wafers originally for eight billion Euros had been adjusted, stated the struggling solar firm on 24 January in Hamburg. The new arrangement removes all the disputed bars on competition. On the old terms, profitable operations would not have been possible for the TecDax listed company. At the time silicon was still a scarce and expensive article, but the price has since fallen considerably.

In America, on 11 January Daimler’s appeal proceedings against South African plaintiffs, who accuse the car firm and Rheinmetall of aiding and abetting human rights infringements through racial segregation during Apartheid in the 70’s and 80’s began. The two companies are threatened with high compensation payments. The first point before a New York court will be the admissibility of the action. The plaintiffs are appealing to the „Alien Tort Claims Act“ of 1798, allowing foreigners to bring suit in the US if the tortfeasors operate commercially there. “Admitting the action would be a precedent with considerable consequences,” said a Daimler spokesman. Bush always rejected such court actions against non-American companies, in the light of sovereignty rights under international law. The Obama administration favours the continuation of such actions, and in particular the US State Department under Hilary Clinton wishes in future through the change of course to stress humanrights aspects.

Deutsche Bank and the Österreichische Bundesbahn (ÖBB) have settled out of court. their longrunning law suit about a package of credit default derivatives worth €613 million In a joint declaration, the companies stated that ÖBB would pay the bank €295 million. In return, the securitized debt certificates will lose their validity. Additionally, the State railway company will drop a pending action. A bank spokesman confirmed the agreement. ÖBB had accused Deutsche Bank of having given it incomplete and misleading information about the risks.


Several competitors of Deutsche Post have won their action against the Post minimum wage regulation on final appeal. Because of a formal error by the Federal Ministry of Labour, the Federal Administrative Tribunal in Leipzig on 28 January overturned the regulation enacted by the former federal government in 2008 on a minimum wage for letter carriers, distributors and drivers of €9.80 or €8.40 per hour respectively. The court granted the post firms’ suit because they had not been heard, as required. Accordingly, the regulation is not legally valid for them.


An appeals court in Paris has reduced the antitrust fine for illegal price agreements imposed on a Klöckner & Co subsidiary by €145.5 million. The fine of €169 million imposed on French subsidiary KDI was thus reduced to €23.5 million, stated the Duisburg steel trader. Of this, €17.5 million had already been paid. In late 2008 French antitrust authorities had fined eleven steel traders and steelmakers almost €600 million (see ICGG 2009/01).

On 25 January Siemens filed its still pending suit against the two ex-directors Heinz-Joachim Neubürger and Thomas Ganswindt with Munich Regional Court. In this civil action, the company is demanding €15 million from its ex CFO, stated Siemens. From Ganswindt, who was in charge of the Telecommunications division, it wants €5 million. Siemens had already announced this step in September 2009, after the Supervisory Board chaired by Gerhard Cromme had agreed settlements with nine former directors or Supervisory Board members.


Sedika Weingärtner (45) has sued Siemens for mobbing because as purchasing strategist she had been systematically obstructed by her superiors for seven years, and felt herself discriminated against as a woman and a foreigner. This was the Afghanorigin businesswoman’s response to her dismissal. After she complained of her sufferings, most recently in several e-mails to Siemens CEO Peter Löscher comparing them to those of the Jews under the Nazi dictatorship, the firm dismissed her for allegedly trivializing the Holocaust. Weingärtner is now asking for €1.2 million in damages. On 17 March the Nuremberg Labour Tribunal will decide whether Siemens was entitled to dismiss its former manager because of her behaviour or whether she was really discriminated against.


The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in a judgment of 21 September 2009 quashed the discharge to board and Supervisory Board given by the AGM of Springer AG. At the time one Supervisory Board member was also on the Supervisory Board of Premiere (today Sky) and a board member of one of the companies’ shareholders. When the resolutions on the takeover of Premiere were being discussed, this Supervisory Board member abstained from voting. The Supervisory Board report to the AGM did not mention this conflict of interest. The BGH thus confirmed the ruling already given in the Kirch/Deutsche Bank case.