German prosecutors on Monday charged the former boss of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, and four more top unnamed VW Group managers with fraud
VW has admitted to fitting 11 million vehicles with software to cheat emission tests. Winterkorn faces charges that he was the guarantor of the vehicle’s technology vis-à-vis the authorities and consumers.
If found guilty, the five defendants face sentences of six months to 10 years, as well as the return of any sales bonuses.
US Prosecutors have already indicted Winterkorn on charges of fraud and conspiracy to defraud customers and violating the Clean Air Act.
The statement of the German prosecutor makes reference to a multitude of crimes clustered within this criminal action, including unfair competition, which happened with the knowledge of the group’s CEO beginning in May 2014.
The date predates VW’s admission to the scandal by a whole year, which suggests the prosecutors are charging the former VW CEO with criminal intent rather than negligence. Winterkorn is believed to have personally supervised the cheat-software update in November 2014.
VW’s share value was not affected by the announcement on Monday.
Volkswagen in the biggest auto-manufacturing group in the world and has already paid €29 billion in fines and buy-back schemes in the United States. In Germany, the group has paid merely €1.8 billion and is currently facing litigation by thousands of customers who are demanding compensation.