Resigning just last week as the biggest casualty of the DieselGate scandal, Volkswagen’s CEO is now facing possible criminal charges.
Prosecutors in Germany have announced they have opened a criminal probe into the actions of Martin Winterkorn, who claimed to have no knowledge that his company installed defeat devices into its cars to cheat on emissions tests.
The Braunschweig, Germany-based prosecutors said the investigation is regarding accusations of fraud regarding the sale of over 11 million vehicles that VW has admitted were equipped with the defeat devices.
Winterkorn resigned his position as the head of the world’s largest automaker on Sept. 23 stating: “I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group. As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group.”
On September 25, Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller was named as Winterkorn’s replacement.
In addition to the investigation into Winterkorn, prosecutors have said they intent to uncover who was ultimately responsible for installing the defeat devices that allowed up to 40 times more pollutants to be emitted into the environment.