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former CEO of Volkswagen charged with fraud in Germany

Martin Winterkorn is accused of failing to disclose unlawful handling of diesel engines to authorities, even though he was aware of this in May 2014.

The World with AFP Posted today at 14h47

Time to Reading 3 min.

Volkswagen said in 2016 that Martin Winterkorn had been made aware by a "memo" dated May 2014 of irregularities in emissions levels in the United States.
Volkswagen said in 2016 that Martin Winterkorn had been made aware by a "memo" dated May 2014 of irregularities in emissions levels in the United States. GEOFF ROBINS / AFP

Former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn and four carmaker officials have been charged with the rigged diesel engine scandal, the German public prosecutor's office said on Monday.

The Brunswick Prosecutor's Office charged Mr Winterkorn with 'Fraud' and of "Violation of the law against unfair competition", accusing the former CEO in a statement "Failing to disclose to the authorities and customers in Europe and the United States illegal handling of diesel engines after becoming aware of them".

The latter had not reacted immediately, while the prospect of a trial is approaching. His former employer, for his part, considered that this was the result "Investigations against individuals, on which Volkswagen does not wish to pronounce".

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Three years after dieselgate, 43 million vehicles still poison Europe

11 million cars equipped with the rigging software

Mr Winterkorn, who was at the helm of the car group at the time of the dieselgate break-up in September 2015, was reproached and had had to resign because of the scandal. "Not having prevented the sale of cars equipped with software" able to rig the pollution level tests.

The group is also accused of having realized "With the agreement of Mr Winterkorn" in November 2014 an update "Useless" software, in order to "Continue to conceal" fraud.

The giant with twelve brands admitted in 2015 to have equipped 11 million cars of software capable of rigging the level of emissions of fine particles, leaving them appear as less polluting than they were in reality.

Find our analysis: Dieselgate: "On the one hand people are dying, and on the other, criminal justice is silent"

29 billion euros

Volkswagen said in 2016 that its former boss had been made aware by a "Memo" dated May 2014, irregularities in US emission levels. In addition, Martin Winterkorn, a professional engineer who remained in charge of Volkswagen from 2007 to 2015, boasted of knowing "Every bolt" of his models.

In the United States, where Volkswagen pleaded guilty to fraud and obstruction of justice, eight former and current leaders of the brand, including Mr Winterkorn, were indicted, including for 'Fraud' and "Conspiracy".

Volkswagen, on the other hand, assures that a handful of engineers organized cheating, without the knowledge of their superiors, and that the information known to managers did not force them to go to the markets.

The "Dieselgate" has so far cost nearly 29 billion euros in vehicle recalls and legal proceedings to the giant of the car. The majority of this sum was paid in the United States. In Germany, two fines totaling € 1.8 billion were recorded last year, and a giant shareholders lawsuit is pending, while another looms as a result of a grouped query already gathering more than 410,000 customers.

Read also How Renault got caught up with the "dieselgate"
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