Following media enquiries, GfK confirms that, represented by the Supervisory Board, it has initiated civil proceedings against the former CEO of the Group, Prof. Dr. Klaus Wübbenhorst, and the former CFO, Christian Weller von Ahlefeld in the District Court Nürnberg-Fürth. GfK is seeking to recover damages in relation to tax irregularities in Turkey the company already announced in January 2013. A first oral hearing took place in the District Court Nürnberg-Fürth. Out of court negotiations are being conducted in parallel to the ongoing legal proceedings.
The ongoing investigation, which is being conducted with external, independent experts in Turkey and Germany, was initiated by the current Management Board at the end of 2012. In the opinion of GfK, the defendants breached their supervisory duties due to insufficient oversight. During the time period in which the violations occurred and GfK subsequently incurred the damages, Prof. Wübbenhorst was the board member responsible for Turkey and the Chairman of the management board of GfK Turkey. Christian Weller von Ahlefeld was the management board member responsible for financial and control systems during that same time period.
“As previously communicated, GfK has conducted a thorough investigation of the situation. Based on the findings of the extensive in-house and external analysis, the Supervisory Board is compelled to seek compensation for the damages the company has sustained caused by the defendants,” said Dr. Arno Mahlert, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GfK SE.
These developments have no impact on GfK’s Turkish operations. Clients have not been affected by the tax irregularities, as they were related to the organizational setup, not the client-facing side of the business.
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