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Porsche to fight '1.8bn hedge funds suit

By Nicholas Moody

A €1.8 billion lawsuit filed by seven hedge funds against family business third-gens Wolfgang Porsche and Ferdinand Piëch for alleged market manipulation is without merit, according to Porsche – the family-controlled German car company.

The group, including US hedge fund Elliot Associates, has initiated a civil case against the third-gens, grandsons of company founder Ferdinand Porsche, at Frankfurt’s regional court.

The hedge funds claim that both supervisory board members participated in reaching all the decisions that Porsche made in connection with increasing its ultimately doomed stake in Volkswagen between 2005 and 2008.

Wolfgang Porsche is the chairman of Porsche’s supervisory board and a member of Volkswagen’s supervisory board. Ferdinand Piëch is chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board and a member of Porsche’s board.

The suit is the latest in a string of similar cases waged by hedge funds in various courts across the world, seeking to recoup money which was lost by betting on a decline of Volkswagen's share price in 2008. The group of hedge funds has a similar case pending in a regional court in Hanover.

In a statement, Porsche said the company and the two supervisory board members will resort to all legal means to defend themselves against this lawsuit.

“Porsche SE confirms that all press releases the company published during the period in dispute are truthful and believes that this suit is also without merit.

“Porsche SE is of the opinion that the “new” civil action solely functions as a trial tactic and aims to put pressure on it. Neither these supervisory board members nor Porsche SE will be intimidated by this. Porsche SE has joined the proceeding in support of the defendants,” the statement said.

Elliot Associates had not responded to a request for comment at the time this story was posted.

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