VW bosses charged with alleged market manipulation over emissions scandal

German prosecutors allege the executives failed to inform US investors early enough about the emissions cheating tests

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Prosecutors in Germany have charged top Volkswagen bosses with alleged market manipulation in connection with the diesel emissions scandal that came to light four years ago.

They allege VW CEO Herbert Diess, Non-Executive Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former boss Martin Winterkorn failed to inform US investors early enough about the emissions cheating tests.

In September 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software to produce favourable conditions in laboratory testing, while in the real world, the vehicles emitted far more emissions than they should have.

The German car manufacturer said it co-operated closely with the public prosecutor’s office in the run up to the latest decision, however, insisted the Executive Committee “still can, also from today’s perspective, not see that the capital market was deliberately not informed”.

Volkswagen added: “Based on the findings available, the Executive Committee is therefore of the opinion that, prior to the publication of the Notice of Violation, the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG did not have sufficiently concrete indications that would have led to the obligation to inform the capital market immediately.”

The allegations will now be examined by an independent court.

Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, Member of Volkswagen AG’s Board of Management responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs said: “The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years.

“The result is clear: the allegations are groundless. Volkswagen AG therefore remains confident that it has fulfilled all its reporting obligations under capital markets law.

“If there is a trial, we are confident that the allegations will prove to be unfounded. Furthermore, the presumption of innocence applies until proven otherwise.”

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