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Chris Gent still under fraud investigation

Media reports wrong, says German state prosecutor

Chris Gent, the chief exec of Vodafone, is still being investigated for fraud the German authorities have said, despite media reports that it had all been called off.

A spokesman for state prosecutor of Dusseldorf said that no new information had come to light that would have caused him to drop the investigation in Gent and nine executives from German company Mannesmann.

The cas revolves around the sudden agreement by the Mannesmann board to accept a takeover bid from Vodafone, despite vociferous opposition to the proposal up to that point. The prosecutor hopes to ascertain whether multi-million pounds pay-outs to Mannesmann executives has the teensiest effect on their decision.

Not that £30 million cold cash is likely to sway the former CEO of Mannesmann Klaus Esser. And the others would only have had £2 million a piece - hardly enough to make them change their minds. Plus, Chris Gent only stood to gain £10 million from getting the deal through, so why would enable the execs to award themselves such pay-outs?

There is still date as to when the case will be closed. Also, we should point out that such investigations are common in large takeovers and there is no suggestion as yet that any charges will be brought. ®

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