BERLIN – Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn may never see a courtroom in the United States in connection with the company's diesel emissions scandal. But his lawsuit is far from over.
A VW spokesman says the board of the German automaker checks whether he can sue for damages from Winterkorn in connection with the company's diesel emissions scandal.
Michael Brendel tells the German news agency dpa "The investigations have been going on for a long time and are conducted independently of investigations by the authorities."
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported on Sunday that Winterkorn could lose its ownership in connection with the investigation of the company.
Winterkorn, 70, was indicted on Thursday in the United States for fraud and conspiracy stemming from the company's diesel emissions scandal. It is unlikely that it could be extradited – the German Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens, except to another Member State of the European Union or to an international tribunal. But he is far from being clear. For one thing, he could risk arrest if he traveled to another country ready to send him to the United States
. In addition to a possible attempt by Volkswagen to claim damages, Winterkorn is being investigated by suspects in a criminal investigation by prosecutors in the German city of Braunschweig in the home region of Volkswagen.
Volkswagen has admitted that it has programmed its diesel engines to activate pollution controls when tested in government laboratories and shut down on the road. When he resigned in September 2015, Winterkorn said he was unaware of his wrongdoing. Later he told the German Bundestag that he knew nothing of the fraudulent emissions over the years.
The US indictment indictment said that Winterkorn and other top VW officials were informed with a PowerPoint document on July 27, 2015. Lecture on "How VW Fooled US Supervisors," the document said , Staff suggested that VW could apply for car approval for 2016 by only partially disclosing US officials and "not disclosing the cheating software." The indictment states that Winterkorn has approved this action plan. In May 2014, Winterkorn was sent a memorandum on the high emissions of the cars, which talked about a "shut – off device". Englisch: www.winterkstation-equity.com/index.php?id=276&L=1. the technical name for the software trick.
German prosecutors say their investigations are ongoing. Two Volkswagen executives were sentenced to prison terms in the United States. Five others have been charged, but it is believed that they live in Germany and are not available to US prosecutors. A former manager, an Italian citizen, was also charged and is in extradition detention in Germany.
Additional revelations from the criminal cases about what Winterkorn knew and when he knew it could make Volkswagen more annoying as it defended civil actions for shareholders saying that the company had not warned them in time of the impending scandal.
McHugh reported from Frankfurt am Main.
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