DaimlerChrysler CEO Testifies in Fraud Trial | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 09.12.2003
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DaimlerChrysler CEO Testifies in Fraud Trial

Chief Executive of DaimlerChrysler Jürgen Schrempp takes the stand on Tuesday in a U.S. court in Delaware in what is billed as a high-profile trial over one of the biggest deals in automotive history. The case is brought by U.S. billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian against the carmaker and its executives over the nature of the merger between Germany company Daimler-Benz and the U.S. company Chrysler. The 86-year-old billionaire, who owned 13.7 percent of Chrysler Corp. Shares before its $36 billion tie-up with Daimler-Benz, accuses DaimlerChrysler and Schrempp of fraud and says a so-called "merger of equals" was actually a secret takeover by the German carmaker. Kerkorian filed the suit after Schrempp told British daily Financial Times in 2000 that the deal was presented as a "merger of equals" for "psychological reasons". He is claiming $1.2 billion in damages. DaimlerChrysler has denied any wrongdoing and has not ruled out a settlement. The trial will go on till Dec. 17 and a ruling is expected early next year.