The former Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn is investigated by the German persecutors over whether he should have disclosed the costs of the diesel scandal to company’s inventors earlier.
The probe aimed towards ex-chief Martin Winterkorn follows many complaints filed by Volkswagen’s investors at a regional court in Braunschweig in the company’s home state of Lower Saxony, claiming that if the automaker had come upfront earlier than it did, it would have stopped to some extent the big drop in shares prices. After it admitted on September 22 last year in front of the US regulators that it cheated on the emissions tests, VW lost billions of dollars in market value, news which evidently did not please its stockholders at all. The new inquiry recently started by the German persecutors also targets other Volkswagen board member whom they did not identify, Bloomberg reports. “There is sufficient evidence that the duty of making a statement about the significant financial losses the company could expect may have existed at an earlier point,” prosecutors said.
Some media already pointed out earlier this year that Martin Winterkorn knew about the company’s admission in front of the US regulators two weeks before the scandal came to public attention. There are also some reports suggesting Winterkorn was aware of some emissions irregularities on the automaker’s diesel cars since 2014.
Even if VW said it set aside 16.2 billion euros (18.2 billion dollars) to cover the costs of the scandal worldwide so far, this might prove not to be enough, with billions of dollars in claims still looming from investors and owners of the affected cars, beyond the repair costs in Europe and the reportedly 10-billion-dollar settlement in the US.