VW compliance chief Hohmann-Dennhardt quarrels after a year

Is that a positive signal to the US judicial authorities if the renowned guardian of virtue on the Volkswagen board of management surprisingly leaves "by mutual agreement"? Does the investigation end in the fog of alternative facts?

VW had only wooed the former constitutional judge from Daimler in the fall of the year before last, where, together with the former FBI chief Louis Freeh, she had worked through various corruption affairs, introduced and monitored strict compliance rules. Hohmann-Dennhardt's successor on the VW Group Executive Board is Hiltrud Werner, Head of Group Audit.

Prof. Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt: Different ideas about clarification Photo: Daimler AG

Review: Freeh and his team worked for several years in the Daimler group, "interrogated" numerous Daimler employees, "as if we had robbed a bank," as one of those affected reports. "The interrogations were called conversations, but afterwards you were fix and everyone", especially because the respondents in English were not necessarily firm. "The fact that Freeh had earned his spurs as a New York public prosecutor in combating the mafia was clearly evident in the tone of the talks."

That Hohmann-Dennhardt Freeh's consulting company Freeh Group International also wanted to go to Wolfsburg, was undoubtedly well received by the US authorities and perhaps also contributed to the comparison with the Department of Justice. At the VW works council, the desire for the investigative American met with resistance from the start.

"He will move in here with a staff of his investigators, collect millions of euros in fees and suspect every employee of criminal acts," warned a works council in February last year. Now he says: “Ms. Hohmann-Dennhardt failed with the preferred candidate Freeh due to resistance from relevant circles. We are surprised that Matthias Müller didn't back her up there. Ms. Dennhardt obviously had very clear and radical ideas about how we should be informed and simply could not prevail. "

The abrupt departure of the top lawyer and the rejection of Freeh as a co-enlightener, obviously primarily by VW chief lawyer Manfred Döss and the works council, should certainly not please the US authorities. In the United States, the insistence persists that Volkswagen is not serious enough to solve the diesel scandal and is continuing to try to delay or even prevent the disclosure of the background.

US advisors Donald Trump will certainly be advised by his advisors about this top personnel in the VW group. We can vividly imagine how he will interpret this signal. The fact that the compliance manager at VW has literally thrown in the US should only be seen as further confirmation that Volkswagen is not exactly promoting the investigation. Worse: tried to prevent further.

It is rumored in Wolfsburg that the chaperon Hohmann-Dennhardt has repeatedly insisted on clearing up faster and more comprehensively. The point of contention was also the publication of the investigative report by the US law firm Jones Day, which VW had previously promised, which is now somehow hidden in the fog of alternative facts.

After the strikingly brittle, short and empty statement of thanks from the Supervisory Board for Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, VW emphasized in the press release:

“Volkswagen will continue to push ahead with change in thinking and acting. The group has significantly expanded its commitment to ethical and honest behavior and promoted decentralization within the organization. Brands and regions can now act much more independently in the operative business. These and other initiatives are part of the comprehensive change in Volkswagen's corporate culture towards a more entrepreneurial and international organization. ”

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