Mr. Jürgen Grässlin, Freiburg
Regarding item 4 of the agenda: »The actions of the members of the Supervisory Board are not to be ratified.
Reason: The Supervisory Board's failure to monitor prohibited gray-market business since the era of Zetsche as Board of Management Member for Sales.
With regard to monitoring gray-market transaction, which are prohibited both by the Group's internal regulations as well as by the European Union (»parallel market transactions«), the Supervisory Board has failed all along the line. For many years, the far-above-average discounts granted to customers in Germany and abroad in the gray-market transactions undermined regular car sales through authorized Mercedes dealerships and sales-and-service centers.
Neither at the past Annual Meeting nor in the past financial year were the Board of Management and Supervisory Board able to rebut claims that in the era that Dieter Zetsche was Board of Management Member for Sales (1995 to 1999) and in the years after that, gray-market transactions took place with a large number of non-authorized Mercedes dealers in numerous countries.
The Critical Daimler Shareholders (KAD, Arndtstraße 31, 70197 Stuttgart, Tel. 0711-608396, see www.kritischeaktionaere.de and www.juergengraesslin.com) have Daimler documents of relevance to this matter. These documents provide evidence that above all in the second half of Zetsche's period of office as Board of Management Member for Sales, in 15 of the 20 Mercedes sales-and-service centers of the West region - and thus in 75 percent of all sales-and-service centers in the biggest sales region! - gray-market transactions were systematically carried out for many years. Additional gray-market scandals from other sales regions in Germany are well known.
These gray-market transactions were recorded at the Sales Center Germany by means of Fahrex approval lists. The responsible head of Mercedes sales in Germany, Dr. Jürgen Fahr, has stated in a lawsuit before the Berlin Labor Court that he informed the then Board of Management Member for Sales, Dr. Zetsche, in written form about the gray-market transactions with thousands of vehicles, as evidenced by a letter of several pages of which the Critical Shareholders have a copy.
However, as a witness in December 2002 in the case against Gerhard Schweinle, the owner of a shipping company in Neudenau, Dr. Zetsche admitted only to »individual cases" of gray-market transactions, according to persons who participated in that lawsuit. The transactions evidenced on the basis of the Daimler documents play an important role in the investigations by the Stuttgart District Attorney's Office - which took place last year and are still ongoing.
The Supervisory Board has not learnt from its mistakes, otherwise the gray-market transactions of the past would be fully clarified; but this did not happen last year. As long as the Supervisory Board does not fulfill its monitoring duty within the Group and does not investigate obvious gray-market transactions in contravention of EU law, its actions cannot be ratified.«