Former VW CEO: ‘Not sufficiently informed about diesel scandal’

Martin Winterkorn takes his hands off it

Martin Winterkorn (ANP)

The former CEO of the Volkswagen Group, Martin Winterkorn, has stated in court that he was not directly involved in the diesel scandal. According to Winterkorn, he was not fully aware of what happened.

In Germany, a lawsuit filed by investors is still ongoing about who exactly can be held responsible for the diesel scandal at Volkswagen, which came to light in 2015. Today one of the absolute leaders spoke: Martin Winterkorn. He was CEO of the Volkswagen Group when the fraud took place and eventually resigned due to ‘Dieselgate’. Winterkorn, who last stated about the scandal in 2017 and is now 76 years old, reiterates that he had no “early knowledge” of the fraud.

As in 2017, Winterkorn states that he had no prior knowledge of the practices. “I am not involved in the development and use of the feature,” Winterkorn said Bloomberg, today in court in Braunschweig. According to him, Volkswagen’s criticized response to the cheating is also not his fault. The German says he would have intervened if he had been ‘fully informed’. “If everything had been properly explained to me, I would have taken the right steps without a doubt.” Winterkorn believes that he was wrongly reassured by engineers within the company that everything would be fine.

Other lawsuits

There are still two charges against Winterkorn for which he can still receive a sentence. The first is a fraud charge due to the diesel scandal, the other is that he, together with the later Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and then chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch, informed the markets too late about the abuses and therefore there would be market manipulation. Winterkorn was previously released from testifying due to his health, but has now been found healthy enough. He has now proven this himself by appearing in court today.

At the end of last year, Winterkorn was already summoned to testify in the case surrounding possible market manipulation. So that is a different matter than what Winterkorn showed up for today. By the way, punishments were already handed out to Audi leaders last year for their role in the scandal. Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was then given a suspended prison sentence, although in practice it remains a fine for him.

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