Ex-Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn charged in U.S. over 'Dieselgate'

by Frankie Norman May 4, 2018, 10:03
Ex-Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn charged in U.S. over 'Dieselgate'

Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn has been accused of conspiring to mislead USA regulators about the carmaker's emissions in a scandal that has been called "dieselgate".

The charges, which were filed in March were revealed on Thursday and adds Winterkorn to the list of nine accused former Volkswagen executives.

The 70-year-old German, who was chairman of VW's management board at VW from 2007-2015, was indicted by a grand jury in Detroit federal court on charges of conspiracy to defraud the US, wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act. The Justice Department has charged him with four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Environmental Protection Adminstration chief Scott Pruitt and other senior Trump administration official issued statements criticising VW with the indictment, which marks a rare instance of a CEO being subjected to criminal prosecution for corporate behavior. In March 2017, VW pleaded guilty to the criminal charges and acknowledged that it had installed software created to modulate harmful nitrogen oxide output depending whether the vehicle was being tested or driven on a road.

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it outfitted about 11,000,000 diesel cars worldwide with a device to cheat software aimed at reducing emissions. He is the highest-ranking person to be charged in the matter.

In total, VW has agreed to spend more than $25 billion in the U.S. to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers. "These are serious allegations, and we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law". Five over VW executives have been indicted in the U.S.: Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jens Hadler, Richard Dorenkamp, Bernd Gottweis, and Jürgen Pete, although it's unlikely that they'll face trial. The company already pleaded guilty to various related charges in United States federal court, and it has paid out billions of dollars in fines and buybacks to former customers.

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