Winterkorn, 70, is charged with four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act from at least May 2006 through November 2015 after the company admitted using illicit software that allowed Volkswagen diesel vehicles to emit excess pollution without detection. The memo also stated it was likely that authorities would investigate whether or not the vehicles contained defeat devices.
To view the full article, register now. Two other employees have pleaded guilty over their role in the affair, and five other executives have been indicted by the United States and remain in Germany, avoiding arrest.
Updated with comments from Volkswagen.
According to the report, the charges were filed secretly in March and made public Thursday.
In the summer of 2015, months before the scandal broke, Winterkorn chaired a "damage table meeting" at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany where engine development staff delivered a presentation on how the company was deceiving USA regulators and what consequences the company would face if it were caught, according to the Justice Department.
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In the summer of 2015, months before the scandal broke, Winterkorn chaired a "damage table meeting" at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany where engine development staff delivered a presentation on how the company was deceiving USA regulators and what consequences the company would face if it were caught, according to the Justice Department. He is the ninth person charged by the United States government in this scandal. Winterkorn in January 2017 told German lawmakers he had not been informed of the cheating early and would have halted it had he been aware, but he did not say when he first became aware of the issue.
The threat to stop US sales reportedly sent Volkswagen into panic mode and they held a "damage table meeting" on July 27th, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The Winterkorn indictment focuses on the July 27, 2015, meeting in Wolfsburg, where Winterkorn and several other senior leaders were briefed about the diesel irregularities and how U.S. regulators were threatening to hold up certifying 2016 models.
VW's new chief executive on Thursday in Berlin, Herbert Diess, vowed to make the carmaker "more honest" as it fights to recover from the diesel emissions scandal, but wary investors called for outside vetting of steps to restore its reputation.
The charges stem from the VW Group diesel emissions scandal that broke in 2015.
Germany typically does not extradite its citizens for trials outside of the European Union. "They were allegedly shown a PowerPoint presentation which explained "(1) how VW was deceiving USA regulators, including precisely what information had been disclosed and what had not yet been disclosed; and (2) the potential consequences of VW being caught cheating".