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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




More than five years after the leadership change at Daimler from Jürgen Schrempp to Dieter Zetsche, the highest European court will soon have to deal with the case. The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) presented to the European Court a class action by several Daimler shareholders against the carmaker because of possible late notification of the change in leadership, for a preliminary ruling, the Karlsruhe court announced on 23 December 2010. The BGH is hoping for clarity on the interpretation of several EU directives on insider dealing and market manipulation.


Deutsche Telekom has reached a settlement with Kai-Uwe Ricke and Klaus Zumwinkel. As the company announced, it had secured an "amicable agreement" in relation to civil claims against the former CEO and former chairman of the supervisory board in connection with the spying affair in the years 2005 and 2006. As part of the agreement, the two company officers have committed themselves to covering "a significant part of the damage caused Deutsche Telekom, by payments each of the same amount". They had also agreed not to claim a likewise equal amount of the payments against D&O insurance. The forthcoming annual general meeting must still approve the settlement.


Munich district court on 20 January threw out actions for avoidance by 38 former shareholders of the ailing Hypo Real Estate (HRE) against transfer of their shares to the government at €1.30 per share. The federal government did not violate the Basic Law by excluding shareholders in the former MDAX company by “squeeze-out”, the chamber under the chairmanship of Helmut Krenek held. The October 2009 Annual General Meeting’s resolution was consistent with the Basic Law and the provisions of the EC Treaty and of corporate law, the Court further found.


Infineon and Ulrich Schumacher have reached agreement on a settlement in their legal disputes, pending for years. The semiconductor company will accordingly pay the ex-CEO an annual pension of €560,000 from 2018 on. As the invitation to the AGM on 17 February in Munich shows, the settlement extinguishes all mutual claims, including those between Schumacher and Max Dietrich Kley, against whom the former chief had won a libel suit in 2007 before Hamburg Higher Regional Court. Shareholders must still approve the agreement, however.


Infineon has filed a declaratory action against Michael Jaffe with Munich District Court, after the Qimonda insolvency administrator brought a lawsuit against the semiconductor group in December 2010. The chipmaker wanted to use patents passed to its bankrupt subsidiary itself again, according to the lawsuit. Infineon aims to prove that while patents were assigned to the Qimonda Group in 2006, it still retained the rights of use. These, however, did not exist any more because of the insolvency, says Jaffe instead. An amicable arrangement had for the moment failed, says the DAX Group. Further reserves were being set aside for the case, which according to Infineon represented an €80 million charge to earnings.


MAN is calling in the bribery scandal for damages in the amount of €237 million from Håkan Samuelsson. A similar claim had been made on Samuelsson in summer by the supervisory board under Ferdinand Piëch. The former chairman is accused of enabling bribes through inadequate control systems. Samuelsson had resigned his post in late 2009 due to the corruption scandal. In addition, the commercial-vehicle and engine manufacturer had taken out a liability policy for board members with two insurance companies, which the company apparently wants to use.


Next to the record damages of 1.3 billion dollars imposed in November against SAP and the reimbursement of Oracle’s legal costs, the Walldorf-based group now has to make million-dollar interest payments to its arch-rivals, the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California decided on 28 December 2010. Oracle is calling in this context for an additional $211,000,000 for the time between the offence punished and the ruling. SAP's calculation method, however, estimated the additional cost at around 16.5 million dollars. District Judge Hamilton has so far not determined any specific amount.


Thomas Ganswindt is to be the first former Siemens top manager to go to court on charges to do with the corruption affair. Although the trial began on 20 January, it had to be interrupted after 15 minutes. Lawyers for the defendants complained that only two and not three judges were used for the complex procedings. The Munich district court upheld the objections to the composition of the criminal bench. The corruption case against the former Siemens board member was finally reopened on 25 January. That day also saw the DAX Group’s AGM. The prosecution accuses the ex board member of knowing of the system of slush funds but having done nothing about it. He had thereby violated his duty of supervision and been guilty of tax offences. Ganswindt had already partially confessed. The former central board member claims he first learned of corrupt acts by former subordinates from the indictment. So far only ex-manager Johannes Feldmayer has been convicted, in November 2008, and sentenced to two years’ probation. Munich prosecutors are also preparing charges against Siemens managers Uriel Sharef and Heinz-Joachim Neubürger. Siemens is demanding five million euros damages from Ganswindt, and from Neubürger as much as 15 million euros.


For a year, a committee of inquiry in Athens has been looking into whether Greek politicians and officials have received bribes from Siemens. It is estimated that bribes of up to €100 million have been passed. The recipients allegedly included former Prime Minister Simitis and numerous ministers of his party, and several former ministers of the opposition New Democracy party. Now the Greek government is calling for compensation from the industrial group. The damages amount to two billion euros, says Greek Minister Pamboukis. A legal claim for damages has still not been received by Siemens.