Volkswagen lawyers claim that the automaker has not publicly admitted earlier to the cheating trick, as it intended to first reach to an agreement with the US regulator.
The September disclosures triggered a storm among Volkswagen’s investors, as the company’s market shares value took a big plunge. Now, the German automaker has to cope with a lawsuit filed by shareholders – at a court in Brunswick, Germany, who are accusing the company of a violation of disclosure obligations under capital markets law. Volkswagen told the US regulators about the trick used to bypass the emissions tests on September 3, but the revelations came to public attention two weeks after. In a report submitted to the Brunswick court, the law firm representing the company said the delay was a deliberate and legitimate move, as Volkswagen hoped to strike a settlement with the US safety regulators and a public disclosure at that time could have been jeopardized the talks.
“The Volkswagen management board had a reason to assume that a consensual solution would be possible with the authorities, that would not have led to significant economic consequences for VW,” the law firm said in the report seen by Reuters. “The temporary non-disclosure did not serve the purpose of covering up the breach of compliance (of U.S. rules),” the report said, adding that the attempt to reduce the cost of the scandal was “not only legitimate but almost advisable.” The report said it was based on the current state of investigations on the carmaker. VW is planning to publish results of a probe into the scandal by the US law firm Jones Day in the second half of April.