Former VW boss charged over diesel emissions scandal
Former VW boss charged over diesel emissions scandal
Martin Winterkorn was CEO of Volkswagen when it emerged that the firm had cheated US emissions tests
18 April, 2019, 03:42
Martin Winterkorn, the former Volkswagen chief executive, could face up to ten years in prison after German criminal charges were brought against him over the Dieselgate emissions scandal on Monday.
Prosecutors in Brunswick, near VW's Wolfsburg HQ in northern Germany, said they had charged Winterkorn and four other managers.
They "are accused of multiple crimes realised in a single criminal action, especially a particularly serious case of fraud and an infraction of the law against unfair competition", the prosecutors said in a statement.
Volkswagen has so far spent about $32 billion as a result of the scandal.
In addition, the prosecutors found that the company carried out a "useless" software update in November 2014, which cost 23 million euros ($26 million), and was aimed at disguising the true level of emissions.
He also neglected to inform customers of the illegal software and did not prevent the continued installation of such software, the prosecutors alleged.
FILE PHOTO: Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn leaves after testifying to a German parliamentary committee on the carmaker's emissions scandal in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2017. The other four suspects weren't identified. The so-called dieselgate scandal has cost the company more than €27bn in fines in the United States and Europe.
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The firm "will not comment" on the new charges, it added.
Aftershocks from the scandal have been serious enough to change the very big firm's course, with bosses now making a massive bet on electrification over the next decade.
The fallout from the scandal has hit demand for diesel vehicles across other carmakers in Europe, amid evidence that almost all diesel vehicles exceeded emissions standards in real-world conditions.
VW plans 70 electric models by 2028, and hopes to sell 22 million electric vehicles over the same period.
Winterkorn, who stepped down as CEO immediately after the revelations, has said that he was not aware of the wrongdoing.
Whilst the other executives have not been named by the prosecutor's office, they are believed to include former Volkswagen Group director of powertrain Heinz-Jakob Neusser, former head of diesel development Falko Rudolph and ex-diesel developer Rudolph Krebs.
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