COURTS
Former VW chief
faces fraud charges

Former Volkswagen head Martin Winterkorn was charged with fraud in Germany for his role in the diesel-rigging scandal that rocked the carmaker and cost it about $33 billion.

The former chief executive, 71, was accused alongside four other managers of equipping vehicles sold to customers in Europe and the United States with a so-called defeat device, authorities in Braunschweig said Monday in a statement. Fraud charges carry a sentence of as long as 10 years.

Allegations that VW wrongfully withheld information about the emission software used in its diesel cars have loomed over the company since the scandal broke in 2015.

Winterkorn’s lawyer Felix Doerr said prosecutors haven’t given him full access to their files. The former CEO is also charged with breach of trust because of his failure to swiftly tell authorities about the devices.

— Bloomberg News

LABOR
Harley-Davidson, workers ratify contract

Harley-Davidson’s unionized workers in Milwaukee and Tomahawk, Wis., on Monday ratified a new five-year labor agreement for a 14 percent wage increase over the life of the contract.

The agreements in place at all of its Wisconsin operations also include a signing bonus, two separate variable incentive plans, pension enhancements for current employees and a retirement incentive.

These agreements, ratified by the United Steelworkers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ Lodge, cover more than 1,000 employees in the Milwaukee area and Tomahawk.

Earlier this month, the workers had rejected the motorcycle maker’s proposal for a five-year contract, citing nonfinancial issues such as temporary workers and job security.

— Reuters

RETAIL
Best Buy names its first female CEO

Best Buy on Monday named chief financial officer Corie Barry as the company’s chief executive, the first woman to lead the consumer electronics retailer in its 53-year history.

Barry, who joined Best Buy in 1999 and became its finance chief in 2016, will become the company’s fifth CEO when she takes over from Hubert Joly, who will step aside to become executive chairman in June.

Barry, along with Joly, turned around the struggling retailer that had been dogged by falling same-store sales and a takeover battle with founder Richard Schulze.

She also headed integration of health services provider GreatCall, which Best Buy bought last year for $800 million.

— Reuters

Also in Business

Shipments of U.S. soybeans are at the lowest level since before the U.S.-China trade war. Total U.S. soybean exports reached 460,700 metric tons last week, down from 888,700 tons in the previous week and just above 446,500 tons in the same week a year ago, according to weekly inspection data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday. Of the soy shipments last week, 130,200 tons were loaded for China. China cut imports of U.S. soybeans and other goods after imposing tariffs in July. While Chinese buyers resumed some purchases as the two sides sought a resolution, some farm groups now fear the administration would accept Chinese purchase target pledges without a promise to lift retaliatory tariffs.

The Greek government says it is in talks with European bailout lenders to repay its debts to the International Monetary Fund early as market borrowing rates tumbled to their lowest level since 2005. Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Greece is hoping to repay a "significant portion" of its remaining $10.9 billion owed to the IMF ahead of schedule. His remarks Monday follow a meeting in Washington between Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

— From news services

Coming today

9:15 a.m.: Federal Reserve releases industrial production for March.
10 a.m.:
National Association of Home Builders releases housing market index for April. Earnings: Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, United Continental, UnitedHealth.