VW’s present leadership cannot escape the fallout from the Dieselgate scandal. Prosecutors within the German city of Braunschweig have unveiled plans to file stock manipulation charges against current CEO Herbert Diess, Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and former chief exec Martin Winterkorn. They allegedly delayed reporting the emissions cheating with data that it will have a tangible effect on shares. The leaders had been pursuing a settlement with US officials “without disclosing all related information,” based on the prosecutors.
Winterkorn was reportedly aware of the cheating (and thus the potential damage) in March 2015, half a year before he resigned. Things get more complicated with others in management. Poetsch supposedly realized on June 29th of that year, whereas Diess found out on July 27th shortly after joining VW.
Diess could also be counting on that timing. His attorney argued that he was too new to have understood the effect Dieselgate would have. This should not harm Diess’ CEO duties, the lawyer stated.
That is merely new in a string of charges against the company and its management. The US has already charged Winterkorn and VW as a whole with defrauding investors, and Winterkorn with conspiracy and wire fraud. That is on top of charges against Audi’s since-ousted CEO Rupert Stadler. Officials are decided to hold VW to account for its conduct, and they do not see the company’s rapid electrification as atonement for its actions.