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Company Boss Resigns In Bribery Affair

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Company Boss Resigns In Bribery Affair
Company Boss Resigns In Bribery Affair

Faurecia boss Lévi has announced his resignation because of his involvement in the bribe scandal in the German auto industry. He is considered the suspect in the investigation.

The bribery affair in the German auto industry also cost a company boss his job for the first time - albeit in France. Pierre Lévi, top manager of the Peugeot Citroën supplier Faurecia, admitted that he had known about bribes that his employees paid to buyers from Volkswagen, Audi and BMW since 2001. VW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder then called for Lévis to be replaced. Eventually the pressure became too great, on Wednesday evening Lévi resigned because of "the development of the investigations currently being carried out in Germany".

A few days ago, the Frankfurt public prosecutor announced that they were investigating Lévi as a suspect - on suspicion of aiding and abetting bribery. "I think that was the reason for the resignation," said a spokeswoman on Thursday. In addition, there was no new status in the proceedings. Lévi had promised to work with the investigators. He wanted to avert further damage to the company, the manager was quoted after a meeting of the Faurecia board of directors in Nanterre. Until September, the Chairman of the Board of Directors Jean-Claude Hanus and CFO Frank Imbert will provisionally manage the company.

French newspapers attributed Lévis' resignation largely to the influence of VW boss Pischetsrieder. In a letter to the boss of the Faurecia mother PSA Peugeot Citroën, Jean Martin Folz, he called for Lévis to leave. The VW group will no longer work with Lévi, the letter said. The goodwill of the Wolfsburg car manufacturer is important to the French, VW is one of the most important customers.

Sharp criticism of VW

In the newspaper “La Tribune”, VW also had to take harsh criticism: “By attacking Faurecia, VW wants to wash itself clean,” the paper quotes an industrialist from the industry who was not named. At VW there was a system that forced suppliers to pay under the table in order to get orders. VW rejected the allegations. On Thursday, a spokesman did not want to say anything about Lévis' resignation: "In principle, we do not comment on the personal details of our business partners."

The prosecutors accuse Faurecia of having paid bribes in the amount of 600,000 to 800,000 euros annually since 1998. In addition to cash, employees are said to have used furniture, vacation trips and jobs, for example for the girlfriend of a suspect, as bait for orders. Lévi is one of 20 suspects. Eleven suppliers are affected. The authorities have so far left open whether other manufacturers besides VW, Audi and BMW will be investigated. According to hints, the Spanish VW subsidiary Seat could also be affected.

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