German Prosecutors Announce Investigation of Former VW CEO Winterkorn in Dieselgate Scandal
The Staatsanwaltschaft, or state prosecutor in Braunschweig, a neighboring city to Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony, Germany, said that the former executive, Martin Winterkorn, is suspected of having waited too long to disclose the fact that the automaker faced an investigation into its pollution controls on diesels in the United States in violation of securities laws.
The new investigation – the Staatsanwaltschaft had first issued a news release that indicated that the former CEO was the target of a criminal investigation on suspicion of fraud and then backpedaled several days later – would undermine the main defense position the company has taken, namely that a small group of middle-level managers at the company had undertaken to deceive regulators by installing technology that switches its diesel-powered vehicles to a cleaner mode in order to meet emissions standards during official testing, but not while on the road.
Volkswagen admitted the use of the software, known as a defeat device, last September, and eventually said it had installed it in some 11 million cars that were sold in various markets including the United States and Germany.
The Staatsanwaltschaft did not identify who the second board member was, but did rule out Hans Dieter Pötsch, currently the chairman of VW’s supervisory board.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)