The U.S. Department of Justice accuses Volkswagen’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn of complicity in emissions fraud. That’s according to an expanded indictment released Thursday by the court of jurisdiction in Detroit, Mich.
Winterkorn is accused of being part of a conspiracy to violate U.S. environmental laws. The top executive resigned from his post in September 2015, shortly after U.S. authorities uncovered emissions manipulation of numerous diesel cars at Volkswagen. Winterkorn, however, had stressed that he was not aware of any wrongdoing.
Volkswagen had to pay billions in fines because of the scandal in the USA. The image of the diesel engine was also severely damaged by the affair. This crisis continues to this day. The U.S. judicial authorities had previously filed criminal charges against eight current and former Volkswagen employees. Two of them have already been sentenced to several years in prison and large fines.
Winterkorn and other managers are also under investigation in Germany. On the one hand because of the initial suspicion of fraud, on the other hand because of market manipulation. Investors are suing for billions of euros in damages because the VW share price plummeted after the emissions fraud became known.
The managers are alleged to have informed the financial markets about the fraud too late in the fall of 2015. The company always insists that it did so in good time.