Former Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn indicted in U.S. over 'Dieselgate'

Report: Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn criminally charged over dieselgate

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud stemming from the company's massive Dieselgate scandal.

VW officials did not comment on the indictment, which was filed in secret in March and unsealed today.

Winterkorn resigned days after the scandal over polluting vehicles in the United States became public in September 2015.

The superseding indictment was issued by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of MI and charges Winterkorn with four counts of violating federal law.

The government says Volkswagen quickly learned about the results of the study and Bernd Gottweis, a senior manager who was responsible for product safety issues, met with employees of the engine development department to discuss it. In March 2017, VW pleaded guilty to the criminal charges and acknowledged that it had installed software created to modulate harmful nitrogen oxide output depending whether the vehicle was being tested or driven on a road.

In total, VW has agreed to spend more than US$25 billion in the U.S. to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers.

Eight other individuals have now been charged by United States authorities in the scandal.

The 70-year-old stepped down from the German carmaker in September 2015, following revelations that the company had been cheating on diesel engine emissions tests using software created to dupe regulators.

Report: Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn criminally charged over dieselgate
VW emissions scandal: US charges ex-CEO with conspiracy and fraud

Winterkorn became the ninth person charged in connection with the emissions cheating scandal.

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

Prosecutors say Winterkorn knew of the company's emissions cheating as early as May 2014 but made a decision to continue with the fraud, the Justice Department said in a statement.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused VW of using a so-called "defeat device" on its 2.0-liter turbodiesel.

The indictment also alleges that VW employees recommended the company seek to get approval for 2016 diesel models from US regulators without revealing the existence of the cheating software. One former manager of VW's subsidiary Audi AG, Giovanni Pamio, 61, an Italian citizen, has been charged by complaint and now remains in Germany pending extradition.

Volkswagen already admitted it installed devices on diesel models created to turn on pollution control devices during emissions tests and turn them off when the auto is driven on actual highways. VW executives also approved a script, "consistent with Winterkorn's alleged directive", for a meeting with CARB to hide their emissions cheating.

Winterkorn had served as VW's CEO and management board chairman from January 2007 until September 2015. VW halted the sale of new diesels in the United States after the scandal.

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