Just days after news of Dieselgate scam broke in September 2015, CEO Martin Winterkorn had resigned from the company as federal authorities began in-depth investigations.
Now, the latest news from the US is that Winterkorn has been charged in the United States by prosecutors in connection to the infamous Dieselgate scandal.
An indictment was unsealed on May 3, 2018, charging Winterkorn with conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with VW’s long-running scheme to cheat US diesel vehicle emissions requirements. The superseding indictment was issued by a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Michigan and charges Winterkorn with four counts of violating federal law.
The first count charges that Winterkorn conspired with other senior VW executives and employees to defraud the United States, defraud VW’s US customers and violate the Clean Air Act by making false representations to regulators and the public about the ability of VW’s supposedly “clean diesel” vehicles to comply with US emissions requirements. The remaining three counts charge Winterkorn with wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
The indictment of Winterkorn represents the most recent charges in an ongoing investigation by US criminal authorities into the scandal. In March 2017, VW pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it deceived US regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, by installing so-called defeat devices in diesel vehicles emissions control systems that were designed to cheat emissions tests.
Winterkorn is the ninth individual against whom US criminal authorities have announced charges in connection with this matter. Two former VW engineers, Oliver Schmidt and James Liang, were pleaded guilty for participating in the conspiracy and are currently serving sentences of 84 months and 40 months in prison, respectively.