A long-anticipated court action by shareholders targeting Volkswagen holding company, Porsche SE, for failing to inform them of the possible financial consequences of the diesel emissions scandal begin in a Stuttgart court on Wednesday.
Porsche SE (PSE), the main shareholder in Volkswagen, has rejected claims for compensation.
Considerable public interest has led the court to hold the proceedings in a hall away from its usual premises in the inner city.
The case turns in part on the holding company’s role.
PSE does not itself operate any production facilities.
The initial action concerns a claim for eight million euros ($9.5 million), but the final total could run to hundreds of millions.
The plaintiffs argued that they paid too much for their PSE shares for years while being in ignorance of the extent of the diesel emissions scandal that first broke in the U.S. in 2015.
One of the contentious issues was whether and under what circumstances PSE as holding company was responsible for publishing market-relevant information under stock exchange regulations.
PSE insists that the allegations were evidently unfounded as the company was a holding company, not a vehicle manufacturer and so not involved in the development, manufacture or marketing of vehicles.
A class action against VW itself has been running before a Braunschweig court since September 2018, with shareholders alleging the company should have informed them earlier about the scope of the scandal.
VW has over recent years paid large fines in Germany, the U.S. and other countries as well as compensation to vehicle owners and costs for retrofitting vehicles.