“The indictment unveiled today (Thursday) alleges that the conspiracy set up by Volkswagen to work around its legal obligations, was known to the top of the organization,” said Jeff Sessions, the minister of Justice in a press release. “These are serious allegations and we will prosecute to the maximum that we allow the law”. It is unlikely that Mr. Winterkorn, 70 years, is found in u.s. courts because Germany is reluctant to extradite its nationals outside the european Union. The former boss will face at the us judges that if he engages himself to the american authorities or if he is arrested in a country other than Germany.
The department of Justice asserts that the former CEO had been made aware of the installation of a software truqueur in diesel models-Volkswagen sold in the United States at least as of may 2014 but had not requested the shutdown of this “fraud”. A “meeting on the damage potential of this scheme had been organised on the 27th July 2015 at the headquarters of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg (north Germany) attended by Martin Winterkorn.
The teams that developed the software, there were threats of the us regulators to delay the certification of diesel models Volkswagen and explained how the company dupait the regulators and what were the potential consequences if she was caught, says the DoJ.After this meeting, Mr. Winterkorn has authorized its teams to continue to lie.
The u.s. authorities indicate that they have in their possession e-mails exchanged between employees of Volkswagen, some of which dated back to August 2015, and from a former head placing Mr. Winterkorn copy. Volkswagen “continues to cooperate with the investigations of the department of Justice,” responded Thursday to a spokesperson, adding, however, that it would be “inappropriate to comment on individual cases”.
Mr. Winterkorn resigned on 23 September 2015, a few days after that Volkswagen has recognized have equipped 11 million of its diesel cars, including approximately 600,000 in the United States, a free software that can distort the test results to pollution control and concealing emissions in excess of sometimes up to 40 times the approved standards. He was replaced by Matthias Müller, himself landed in April last and also the subject of an investigation in this case.
In addition to Mr. Winterkorn, five other leaders of VW, most of German nationality and living in Germany, according to the DoJ, were indicted Thursday by us regulators. This is Richard Dorenkamp, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jens Hadler, Bernd Gottweis and Jürgen Peter. A total of eight current and former executives of Volkswagen have been indicted by the United States, but only two engineers have already been sentenced. Oliver Schmidt, head of the department of regulatory compliance of VW in the United States from 2014 to march 2015, is one of them. He had agreed in December to plead guilty in this case and to cooperate with the u.s. authorities after he was arrested in Miami, where he went on vacation. He had been punished with a sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of 400,000 dollars. Giovanni Pamio, 61, a former head of Audi, a subsidiary top of the range VW, is also being separately sued by the us authorities, who have requested the extradition of this Italian, who lives in Germany.
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