Even after former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and Audi CEO Rupert Stadtler declined to seek reelection to Bayern Munich’s supervisory board, the fallout of the VW diesel emissions scandal continues to implicate the club.
In breaking news (Reuters, BBC), prosecutors in Braunschweig have announced that they will press criminal charges against current VW CEO and sitting board member Herbert Diess and against Winterkorn for stock market manipulation. Prosecutors argue that the VW CEOs held back “market-moving information on rigged emissions tests four years ago.”
Volkswagen acknowledged in 2015 that it had used illegal software to defeat diesel emissions tests in the United States, leading to fines and various criminal charges.
Diess stated through his lawyers that he intends to stay on as VW CEO while he fights the charges. They claim “the allegations are groundless” and that Diess can have had no knowledge of the extent of the scandal, having joined the company in June 2015.
Alberto Ayala, a US regulator who helped uncover the scandal disputes that defense. He told Spiegel, “The excuse that top managers knew nothing is very weak.”
This is the second indictment in the emissions scandal. Charges for fraud in connection with the scandal were brought against Winterkorn and Rupert Stadler and other executives in April.