updated 2/22/2008 9:04:15 AM ET 2008-02-22T14:04:15

The former head of Volkswagen AG’s employee council was convicted for his role in a broad corruption scandal at the automaker.

A Braunschweig court found Klaus Volkert guilty of 48 counts of inciting fraud against VW and sentenced him to two years and nine months in prison for his role in arranging illegally, among other things, trips abroad and prostitutes for employee representatives.

Prosecutors said Volkert illegally paid out nearly $3 million in special bonuses, and nearly $590,000 to his former lover.

Judge Gerstin Dreyer rejected arguments by defense attorneys that the 48-year-old Volkert did nothing wrong granting benefits to members of the works council and helping to arrange a lucrative contract for his ex-girlfriend.

“He knew that he had no right to the payments,” Dreyer said in her ruling. “Volkert did not let up and kept coming back for more.”

The court also convicted ex-manager Klaus-Joachim Gebauer on 40 counts of breach of trust. Gebauer was handed a suspended one-year sentence.

Volkert acknowledged that he helped arrange a lucrative contract for his former girlfriend, but said he had done nothing wrong.

Gebauer testified that he always acted on behalf of superiors and management, but acknowledged that the indictment against him was “largely accurate.”

The convictions follow a two-year suspended sentence last year for former VW personnel chief Peter Hartz, who cooperated with investigators looking into the scandal.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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