On Monday, Prosecutors in Braunschweig announced that Winterkorn was one of five people accused in a case related to the car manufacturer's diesel emissions fraud scandal.
Winterkorn has been accused of a particularly serious fraud, according to a statement by prosecutors. The fee bears a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The former CEO was also responsible for poisoning and breaches of competition law. He could be ordered to repay the bonuses he received as a reward for sales.
Felix Dörr, lawyer for Winterkorn, said that he would only be able to comment on the charges when he had read the entire charge.
Prosecutors said they had sent the accusation and 75,000 pages of additional evidence for a court in Braunschweig who will decide whether Winterkorn will be in trial.
Another 36 people remain under investigation.
Last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission also announced that it had been sued Volkswagen and Winterkorn, and accused them of carrying out "a massive fraud".
The market regulator said that Volkswagen and Winterkorn abandoned thousands of dollars from investors, including by persuading the firm's environmental credentials.
Sales of Volkswagen diesel-powered cars are now being rebuilt in Germany. About 43% of all Volkswagen brand cars sold in Germany last year were diesel, close to their 49% scandal.
Chris Liakos and Stephanie Halasz contributed to this article.