Former VW CEO Indicted in Emissions Cheating Case

Report: Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn criminally charged over dieselgate

The company said it was cooperating with United States probes and declined to comment further.

U.S. prosecutors charged Winterkorn with wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to an indictment that was unsealed today.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Winterkorn has been charged with four counts of violating federal law.

Winterkorn was among the first wave of executives ousted by VW Group as the emissions cheating debacle came to light late in 2015.

-US Attorney General Jeff SessionsThe indictment of former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn should send a clear message that EPA and its law enforcement partners will seek to hold corporate officers accountable for alleged criminal activities at their company. He is the ninth person charged by the U.S. government in this scandal.

In the summer of 2015, months before the scandal broke, Winterkorn chaired a "damage table meeting" at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany where engine development staff delivered a presentation on how the company was deceiving U.S. regulators and what consequences the company would face if it were caught, according to the Justice Department. Two former engineers have pleaded guilty.

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In the grand jury indictment, unsealed Thursday in Federal District Court in Detroit, Winterkorn was charged with four counts of violating USA federal law.

Winterkorn, now aged 70, has thus joined a select group of several other Volkswagen employees indicted in the now infamous Dieselgate scandal in the U.S. According to the papers, the CEO was at one point informed of the illegal practices of the company and chose to cover them up.

Like Winterkorn, they have not been apprehended and reside in Germany. During said testing, the vehicles would curtail their emissions output, but once on the road, the vehicles would pollute well in excess of legal limits.

The former Volkswagen chief is also under investigation by German authorities. The prosecution alleges that Winterkorn may have known of the cheats as early as 2014. "They were allegedly shown a PowerPoint presentation which explained "(1) how VW was deceiving USA regulators, including precisely what information had been disclosed and what had not yet been disclosed; and (2) the potential consequences of VW being caught cheating".

In May, a VW Executive sent a memo to Winterkorn explaining the situation which stated, "a thorough explanation for the dramatic increase in NOx emissions can not be given to the authorities".

He resigned not long after the scandal became public in September 2015, maintaining he had no prior knowledge of the effort.

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