Volkswagen's ex-CEO charged in USA for diesel cheating

US prosecutors charge former VW chief Winterkorn

U.S. prosecutors have reportedly filed charges against former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn over his alleged role in the diesel emissions scandal.

Winterkorn, who resigned in November 2015 in response to the scandal, said he was not aware of any wrongdoing at the time of his resignation.

Winterkorn is Volkswagen's highest-ranking executive to be charged in a probe into the German company, which "deceived American regulators and defrauded American consumers for years", according to a statement by US Attorney Matthew J. Schneider of the Eastern District of MI.

"The US Attorney's Office is committed to pursuing accountability for corporate crimes, and the Winterkorn prosecution is a reflection of that commitment". Two people have pleaded guilty in the case.

In total, VW has agreed to spend more than US$25 billion in the USA to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers. Instead, VW sought to deceive United States regulators about the causes for the significant discrepancies between emissions tests and emissions values measured on the road.

American prosecutors have charged Volkswagen's former chief executive with conspiring to mislead customers and regulators about the carmaker's diesel emissions cheating.

In March 2017, VW pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it deceived US regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board by installing so-called defeat devices, which were created to cheat emissions tests, in the diesel vehicles' emissions control systems.

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Winkerton is the ninth Volkswagen executive or employee to be charged.

Winterkorn faces four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and wire fraud.

The indictment also alleges that VW employees recommended the company seek to get approval for 2016 diesel models from USA regulators without revealing the existence of the cheating software.

In September 2015 Volkswagen admitted using illicit software that allowed diesel vehicles to emit excess pollution without detection.

CHECK OUT: How did Volkswagen's diesel defeat device work? 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.

Six former Volkswagen executives charged, including Winterkorn, are believed to be in Germany and have avoided facing US prosecutors.

Winterkorn had served as VW's CEO and management board chairman from January 2007 until September 2015. A PowerPoint presentation was allegedly created, detailing exactly how VW was deceiving regulators "including precisely what information had been disclosed to U.S. regulators and what information had not yet been disclosed".

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