Volkswagen’s series of “unpimp your auto” commercials has taken on a less flip connotation now that the German carmaker is embroiled in allegations of high-end prostitutes, sex orgies and stashes of Viagra. The corruption scandal, which started over allegations that VW bribed suppliers, widened to charges it used a slush fund to pay for “pleasure trips” taken by members of the company’s union works council, in return for their support of management decisions. The co-operation of Germany’s powerful unions is often essential for management to keep operations running smoothly.
After the Bild newspaper linked German politician Hans-Jürgen Uhl to VW-sponsored sex parties involving prostitutes, Uhl, a former senior member of the carmaker’s works council, provided five affidavits proclaiming his innocence. Then, last week, he confessed he’d lied: “I have not told the truth in dealing with the allegations made against me in this context. As a result, the assurances I made under oath in court examinations carried out in various media were, to a considerable degree, also false.” He also resigned his seat in the Bundestag.
Uhl faces five charges of perjury, and two charges of being an accomplice to fraud in a case about whether he knew Volkswagen was picking up his “entertainment” tab. The trial starts June 14. Reportedly, six prostitutes will testify that Uhl participated in VW-sponsored sexual escapades, including a 29-yearold Russian named Lola who has details of Uhl’s activities in a sex orgy in a Hanover nightclub.
It will be the second trial connected to the scandal. In January, VW’s personnel director, Peter Hartz, admitted to fraud charges, was fined $715,000, and given a suspended sentence in return for co-operating with prosecutors. Hartz, hated by many unionists for being the architect of the previous government’s tough labour reforms, admitted he paid millions to the works council to ensure smooth relations. Like Uhl, reports say he was also involved with a VW-paid escort, an exotic Brazilian beauty named Joselia. M
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