Prosecutors in VW’s home nation have opened an investigation recently to deal with fraud allegations set against ex-Volkswagen Group chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn.
The latest probe shows Germany’s desire to quickly get to the bottom of the crisis that has started when VW admitted it had cheated diesel emissions testing in the US and then also acknowledged it had done so in 11 million cars sold around the globe. The global automotive industry has been heavily impacted by the ongoing scandal and authorities in Germany fear the damage may spread towards their economy – heavily dependent on the crop of German auto manufacturers. The crisis is forecasted as able to harm Germany’s massive economy and the company itself has been trying to find who, how long and how much knew about the rigged software. According to sources, VW has already benched three main engineers as the company admitted it had rigged US emissions tests and Germany’s transport minister claimed it has done the same in Europe as well. With the biggest crisis in its 78-year history, the group has seen a third of its market cap wiped in a matter of days.
The German prosecutor’s office announced it had initiated an investigation on Winterkorn over “allegations of fraud in the sale of cars with manipulated emissions data” as charges have been filed by around 10 unidentified individuals. Winterkorn vacated his CEO position last week on Wednesday and company veteran Matthias Mueller, the leader of the Porsche unit, assumed control. The former CEO said it was not aware of the cheating process but decided to resign to support the company in getting a clean slate.