Volkswagen’s former chief executive Martin Winterkorn was informed that the carmaker has admitted to US regulators it was using cheating devices a couple of weeks before the scandal became public.
Reuters reports, citing the German Bild am Sonntag weekly, that the ex-chief of Europe’s biggest automaker knew about the company’s redemption in front of the US regulators two weeks before the scandal came to public attention. The newspaper revealed on Sunday it was in possession of a letter sent by an unnamed manager directly to Winterkorn on September 4 that said: “In the conversation on 03.09.2015 with the regulator California Air Resources Board, the defeat device was admitted.” Such a letter will probably fuel shareholders’ further actions of planning to sue Volkswagen for compensation over the scandal, saying the automaker should have told the public about the matter as soon as it became aware. Volkswagen’s shares have lost almost a third of their value, or about 22 billion euros (24 billion dollars), since the scandal erupted.
Among those who are asking for compensations, there are 66 institutional investors from the United States and Britain claiming hundreds of millions of euros in damages. The shareholders are represented by the Nieding + Barth law firm, which said last month it would lodge a case with a regional court in Brunswick, Germany, very soon. “On top of that, we collected several thousands of private investors. Therefore, we think we are the biggest platform for suits against Volkswagen in Germany,” said Klaus Nieding of the firm.