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Germany's first criminal indictment in VW emissions scandal is ex-CEO Winterkorn



 Martin Winterkorn,
Enlarge / Martin Winterkorn, former Volkswagen Group CEO

On Monday, German prosecutors filed a criminal indictment against former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn for participating in the fraud that led to the diesel emission scandal that rocked the company in 201

5. Four other managers were also today, but their names were not released.

In 2015, US officials accused VW Group of putting illegal software on diesel Audis, Volkswagen, and Porsches. The software would essentially kill the cars' emission reduction systems during real-world driving to improve performance, but under laboratory conditions, the cars would pass emission tests easily. Later, it was discovered that VW Group's diesels were using the same mechanism to subvert European Union vehicle emission standards. Winterkorn and other VW Group management said they had knowledge of this software and its presence on "rogue engineers."

Winterkorn stepped down from his position shortly after VW Group's cheating was made public.

The United States indicted Winterkorn and other VW Group managers in May 2018, but Germany has not moved to the extra-accused. According to The New York Times, Germany's indictment of Winterkorn is the country's first criminal indictment in association with the emission scandal. Former Aup executive Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany last year, but was soon released and has not been charged with crime since that time.

Several VW Group executives have been indicted in the United States, but so far only two men have been tried. These two are Oliver Schmidt, Volkswagen's general manager of emission compliance in the US, and James Liang, Volkswagen's Leader of Diesel Competence in California. Schmidt was arrested while vacationing in Miami and later sentenced to seven years in prison, while Liang was sentenced to 40 months in prison and two years of supervised release. of dollars in vehicle buybacks, and compensation payments to customers. Toyed with modifying a diesel vehicle's emission-reduction system.

"The Times writes includes charges of breach of trust, tax evasion, and false certification, either directly or by aiding in such crimes. "If convicted, Mr. Winterkorn could be sent to up to 10 years in prison." The public prosecutor may also seek to force any convicted manager to pay back bonuses received while the fraud was ongoing.


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