Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is under investigation in Germany.
German prosecutors have said they are looking into the automaker’s former CEO for possible violations of securities laws, marking the first time Volkswagen’s massive diesel emissions scandal has reached the top tier management. The prosecutors suspect that Winterkorn waited too long to disclose that the company faced an investigation in the U.S., and Winterkorn is the first member of Volkswagen’s top management team identified as a suspect.
Ever since Volkswagen revealed that it cheated on diesel emissions tests in the U.S. last September, the company has remained adamant that top management was unaware of the defeat device or cheating software until shortly before the announcement. The company has instead pointed blame at a small group of middle managers that were suspected of installing the software starting with the 2009 models.
That means prosecutors are no longer just focusing on middle management and engineers, but has expanded to executives within the company. There is also a second board member under investigation, but German prosecutors did not identify the person, citing German privacy laws. They did, however, confirm that it is not Hans Dieter Pötsch, Volkswagen’s chief financial officer when Dieselgate was first revealed.
Winterkorn resigned last September, a few days after American regulators accused Volkswagen of manipulating diesel test results. When he redesigned, Winterkorn stated that he only had learned about the defeat device shortly before, adding that he was not aware of any wrongdoing on his part.
[Source: The New York Times]
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