The process is more likely to be one branch of the multi-branch diesel scandal. But for former VW shareholders who suffered a loss due to the fall in the share price after exhaust gas manipulation became known, there was some hope of financial compensation. Some of them did not sue VW, but Robert Bosch GmbH as the supplier of the cheat software. The hope of these complainants is now dashed. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) dismissed several of these lawsuits on Tuesday.
For example, one of the plaintiffs was an investor who in December 2013 purchased VW preferred shares worth 12,000 euros. In early September 2015, VW then confessed to the US authorities the lazy thing with the software that lowered tailpipe emissions as soon as it recognized that a car was on the exhaust test bench. The shareholder sold his papers for only 8,500 euros. A few days later, VW informed the capital market via an ad hoc announcement.
Due to the currency losses, a model investor case is currently pending before the Higher Regional Court in Braunschweig – but directly against VW, not against Bosch. The outcome of this process will not be anticipated here, said BGH Senate President Ingo Drescher. The fact that VW had caused damage to its shareholders by not informing the capital market in good time was only presumed for the BGH proceedings. If it had been like this: Would Bosch have helped deliver the software?
According to the BGH, “the natural use of the language” goes against the position of the complainants
At least that is how the complainants saw it. They filed claims against the Bosch company because they had thus borne not only the damages caused to the buyers of diesel, but also to the shareholders of VW. “The installation of the software was aimed not only at the buyers’ market, but also at the capital market,” said its lawyer, Wendt Nasall, at the BGH hearing.
Already at the hearing, Ingo Drescher, President of the Federal Court of Justice, had expressed doubts about the lawyer’s position. When the verdict was delivered, it made it clear that Bosch had somehow facilitated or facilitated VW’s – supposed – damage to investors, was not to be assumed, even in “natural usage of language.” Because the delivery of the software to VW may have justified the company’s obligation to inform the capital market in the first place. Getting help from Bosch to harm shareholders would be an “over-understanding” of the term. The protection of potential VW investors against the incorrect presentation of corporate relationships is not justified by the delivery of the software. But only by not being informed in time that the software was being used to manipulate the exhaust gas control, Drescher said.
About two years ago, Bosch had to pay a relatively moderate fine of 90 million euros due to the diesel scandal – for “negligent violation of the duty of supervision”. According to the BGH ruling, the company no longer has to fear lawsuits from shareholders.