Lopez indicted over taking secrets to VW

German prosecutors yesterday indicted Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, the former purchasing chief of Volkswagen, on charges of taking trade secrets to the German car maker when he left General Motors of the US in 1993.

Mr Lopez's lawyers said the charges of embezzlement and betrayal of trade secrets would not stand up in court, and they would seek to have them dismissed. Full details of the charges will be announced on Friday. If found guilty, Mr Lopez could go to prison for five years.

Both GM and Volkswagen declared partial victory over the indictment. The German company emphasised that no charges of conspiracy between Mr Lopez and VW were filed.

VW repeated that it never requested nor used foreign secrets. But GM asserted that the charge of betraying trade secrets implied the opposite.

A spokesman said the indictment confirmed the initial suspicion of industrial espionage raised by Adam Opel, the German car company owned by GM. "It is again evident that the attempts by Volkswagen to characterise the affair as a private matter of Mr Lopez are misleading," he added.

Prosecutors in Darmstadt also indicted a second former manager along with two current managers who followed Mr Lopez from GM to VW. They are Jose Manuel Gutierrez, a former VW manager, and Jorge Alvarez and Rosario Piazza, who both work for VW's Spanish subsidiary Seat. The three were members of Mr Lopez's purchasing department. Mr Gutierrez had since left VW, Mr Alvarez had taken over purchasing at VW's Spanish Seat unit where Piazza had joined him, said a spokesman for VW.

The Darmstadt prosecutors office was unavailable for comment, but will tomorrow disclose the results of its three-year investigation of GM's charges against VW.

Investors in VW were unsettled by the indictment. The company's shares fell DM9.05 to DM604 (pounds 237), making a total loss of 5.3 per cent since the US District Court in Detroit decided a fortnight ago to allow GM's industrial espionage lawsuit to continue.

The lawsuits have left analysts divided on their investment recommendations for VW. For many, however, VW's rising profits and operating strength override concern about fall-out from the dispute with GM.

"I am relatively surprised how steady the shares have been through all of this," Georg Stuerzer, an auto analyst at Bayerische Vereinsbank said yesterday. "The fundamental operating development is very, very good, which seems to be balancing the price pressure from the so-called Lopez affair."

Separately, Volkswagen said yesterday that it expected net profits this year to be "significantly above" last year's DM336m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss