Bentham Europe Limited (“Bentham”) notes that since the recent disclosures by Volkswagen AG (“Volkswagen”), its market capitalisation has reduced by some €25 billion and investors have seen the share price collapse from approximately €160 to €100. As a result, Bentham confirms that it is in discussions with institutional investors worldwide to fund a shareholder action in Germany against Volkswagen, alleging breaches of the German securities law over an eight year period from 2007 to 18 September 2015. The intention will be to instruct lawyers to commence the necessary proceedings as soon as possible.
The actions, on behalf of shareholders who purchased shares in Volkswagen on German exchanges, are proposed to be conducted in Germany by a leading international commercial litigation law firm. The actions will seek to establish that shareholders are entitled to compensation for losses caused by Volkswagen’s alleged breaches of the German Securities Trading Act, based upon the Company’s apparent failure to inform the market, over a long period of time, about its suspected practice of installing and using “defeat device” software in a very significant number of vehicles it manufactured and sold into the United States and other world car markets.
Volkswagen’s alleged conduct has resulted in, amongst other things, worldwide investigations including criminal investigations commenced in Germany and the United States, the resignation of senior company executives, and the prospect of a large scale and worldwide vehicle recall.
All current and former shareholders who acquired at least 10,000 Volkswagen shares on a German or European exchange during the period 1 January 2007 to 18 September 2015 inclusive, and who had not sold all of those securities prior to the market opening on Monday 21 September 2015, are invited to contact Bentham Europe so as to participate in a proposed action.
The Chief Investment Officer of Bentham Europe, Jeremy Marshall, said:
“The apparent secret use of defeat devices by Volkswagen and the ensuing scandal that erupted upon disclosure of this practice has caused significant harm to Volkswagen’s reputation and financial position as well as raising serious concerns as to the corporate governance regime within one of Germany’s blue chip companies. Volkswagen shareholders are justifiably concerned that Volkswagen has appeared to have allowed this practice to continue for what may have been a number of years, in the assumed knowledge that its disclosure to the market would be likely to cause them and their shareholders significant financial harm. We expect a legal claim to reveal the true extent of the problem and allow shareholders to seek compensation for the undoubted harm that has been suffered”.
Jeremy Marshall concluded:
“Shareholders – who saw billions wiped off the value of Volkswagen in 2 days – deserve more than just an apology for what appears to be long-running and concerted cheating of the system.”