Germany (Xinhua) -- Former
Volkswagen chief executive officer (CEO) Martin
Winterkorn and four other VW executives have been
accused of serious fraud, among other things, in the
proceedings of the Volkswagen diesel scandal, the
public prosecutor’s office in the German city of
Brunswick announced on Monday.
Brunswick prosecuting authority accused the five
executives of having committed "a majority of
criminal offences in a single criminal act."
Winterkorn "is accused of a particularly serious
case of fraud, a violation of the law against unfair
competition as well as breach of trust".
Even though he knew about the manipulations on
diesel engines, Winterkorn had failed to disclose
the manipulations either to authorities in Europe
and the U.S. or to its customers, according to the
The prosecuting authority accused Winterkorn of a
breach of trust because he did not immediately
disclose the illegal manipulations of diesel engines
after becoming aware of them.
The former CEO "had failed to stop the further
installation of the cheating devices" or to prohibit
the sale of the vehicles with these devices, the
public prosecutor stated.
In addition, with Winterkorn’s knowledge and
approval, a "useless" Volkswagen software update had
been carried out in November 2014 at a cost of 23
million euros (26 million U.S. dollars) that "was
intended to further conceal the true reason for the
increased pollutant levels in normal vehicle
operation," said the prosecuting authority.
Following the court’s decision, Winterkorn’s
lawyer responded that the charges had been brought
without giving the former Volkswagen boss the
opportunity to "take note of all files of the
proceedings" and to comment on them.
The authority in Brunswick is investigating 36
Volkswagen employees in the proceedings on software
manipulations of nitrogen dioxide emissions of
The "diesel emissions scandal" began in 2015 when
it became known that Volkswagen had installed an
illegal shutdown device in the engine control of its
The device was intended to circumvent the
statutory limit values for car exhaust gases.
According to Volkswagen, the software is
installed in around eleven million vehicles
As a result of the scandal, Winterkorn resigned
as Volkswagen CEO in 2015 and the company has
already paid fines of 29 billion euros. (one euro
currently equals to 1.13 U.S. dollars).
welcomes new "dieselgate" policy compromise in
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua)
-- German Chancellor
Angela Merkel has welcomed a policy compromise
reached by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and
the national automotive industry on Friday.
Martina Fietz, a spokesperson for the federal
government, told the press that Merkel considered
the latest development to "definitely be a step in
the right direction."
The chancellor expected the industry to "assume
its responsibility" in the emissions-cheating
scandal and would continue to monitor the
development of their related talks with Scheuer.
On Thursday, carmakers agreed to enhance
financial offers made to owners of older diesel
vehicles following protracted negotiations with the
ministry of transport.
Merkel’s government has repeatedly stated that it
is keen to prevent cities from imposing diesel
driving bans as a final resort to improve urban air
quality and would instead promote fleet-renewal
measures and so-called "hardware upgrades" to reduce
nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution.
During the latest round of talks between Scheuer
and automotive executives, the major Volkswagen and
Daimler Groups have both agreed to foot a bill of up
to 3,000 euros (3,400 U.S. dollars) per vehicle to
conduct hardware upgrades.
While BMW continues to oppose this specific form
of technical retro-fitting, the Munich-based company
said that it would also contribute the same amount
in funding per vehicle for other "producer-specific
As a number of German cities where courts have
ordered outright bans to ensure compliance with
European Union (EU) clean air legislation continues
to grow, Merkel has told the press that she would
seek to pass legislation to outlaw such
"disproportionate" measures where NOx emissions
levels are only slightly above EU emissions limits.
A spokesperson for the ministry of the
environment noted on Friday that it was too early to
say whether 3,000 euros per car would cover the cost
of all necessary retrofitting measures.
However, the spokesperson expressed confidence
that in most the amount of funds needed to upgrade
older diesel vehicles would be below that figure.
Audi fined 800
million euros in "dieselgate" scandal
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua)
-- German carmaker Audi
was handed an 800-million-euro (927.8 million U.S.
dollars) regulatory fine by the Munich State
Prosecution Office in the course of "dieselgate"
investigations, Volkswagen AG, the mother
corporation of the luxury carmaker, announced on
"Audi AG has accepted the fine and hence accepts
its responsibility", a statement by Volkswagen read.
The official reasoning for the fine was provided
with Audi’s "divergence from regulatory
requirements" in its production of certain diesel
The exact sum was arrived at from the combination
of a punitive penalty of five million euros, the
highest which can be awarded under German law in
such cases, and an estimated 795 million euros in
additional earnings which the Ingolstadt-based
company had derived from the illicit behavior in
Volkswagen predicted that the development would
have an immediate effect on its own financial
performance and that of its subsidiary in 2018.
"Taking special one-off effects from the fine
order into account, the Audi corporation will
underperform key financial targets from its forecast
for the 2018 fiscal year significantly", Volkswagen
Porsche SE, the holding company of the Porsche-Piech
family which owns the majority of publicly-listed
Volkswagen Group shares, also expects net profits
for this year to fall by around 900 euros to between
2,5 and 3.5 billion euros as a consequence.
Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest carmaker by
sales, admitted to manipulating exhaust system
testing results in more than 10 million vehicles as
early as September 2015 and has since had to pay
more than four billion euros in legal settlements
with customers there.
In Germany, the Brunswick State Prosecution has
already ordered the mother corporation to pay one
billion euros in fine to plaintiffs during the
summer in a similar case to the one now concluded at
Nevertheless, Justice Minister Katarina Barley
has called for an overhaul of German law which would
allow judicial authorities to punish corporations
for criminal wrongdoing more effectively rather than
just being able to prosecute individual members of
Referring to the "dieselgate" scandal
specifically, Barley argued that the government
should create possibilities to take a more
aggressive stance against businesses where fraud or
corruption were "systemic" issues. (1 euro = 1.16
German prosecutors have levied a huge fine on
car maker 'Porsche' for dereliction of
duty in the emissions-cheating scandal that has
engulfed parent company Volkswagen