Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Economy | By

USA charges former Volkswagen CEO in emissions scandal

USA charges former Volkswagen CEO in emissions scandal

The allegations and eventual admission led to billions erased from the company's coffers, Winterkorn's ouster, a worldwide scandal, and one conviction of a VW executive in the far. Five other VW executives were also charged in the indictment.

Winterkorn, who stepped down from his role as CEO days after the scandal was revealed, is accused of conspiring to defraud the USA and violate the Clean Air Act.

The remaining three counts charge Winterkorn with wire fraud in connection with the scheme.

The indictment alleges that Winterkorn specifically approved the efforts to mislead regulators about the falsified emissions claims.

According to documents which surfaced on Thursday, the charges against Winterkorn were filed in March but were only unsealed this week.

Interestingly, the government's case seems to focus on the fallout of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation in the spring of 2014. Winterkorn in January 2017 told German lawmakers he had not been informed of the cheating early and would have halted it had he been aware, but he did not say when he first became aware of the issue. Several executives were named in the indictment.

In July 2015, when the United States threatened not to re-certify Volkswagen diesels because their emissions numbers were so off, Winterkorn asked his employees for a briefing on the situation. But, the indictment said, he continued to "perpetrate the fraud and deceive US regulators". The meeting was reportedly attended by a number of senior Volkswagen executives including Winterkorn.

The company itself pleaded guilty to three criminal charges in January past year, and paid fines totalling $US4.3 billion.

Winterkorn resigned in September 2015, shortly after the company admitted that Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinders engine was intentionally and illegally fitted with a defeat device that allowed them to game emissions tests and illegally pollute up to 40 times more than allowed by federal law.

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