BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Former Porsche SE CEO Wendelin Wiedeking must stand trial over the company's failed bid to use options to acquire Volkswagen AG, a Stuttgart appeals court ruled.
The ruling overturned a decision by a lower court in April that said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the case, Stefan Schueler, spokesman for the appeals tribunal, said in a statement today.
Ex-Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter must also stand trial.
Porsche has faced a series of investigations and lawsuits since disclosing in October 2008 that it had access to 74.1 percent of Volkswagen, partly through cash-settled options, and was seeking to acquire 75 percent as part of a takeover strategy. The announcement caused Volkswagen's stock to jump as short sellers raced to buy shares to repay borrowed stock in bets that VW would fall.
The appeals court judges "list numerous indications that could suggest that there was a hidden decision to increase the stake as they could suggest the opposite evaluation by the lower court," said Schueler. "Because evidence rules are a highly sensitive issue, the case has to go to trial."
The charges will be found meritless at trial, lawyers for both men said in a joint statement. Porsche's releases about the takeover were all accurate at all times, they said.
Porsche also said in a separate statement that the charges were unfounded.
Investors have sued the company for more than 5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) claiming Porsche had long before decided to acquire its rival and lied to investors about it. Prosecutors started to probe the executives in 2009 over the same allegations.