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Volkswagen's former boss faces charges in US over 'dieselgate'

Volkswagen’s former chief executive Martin Winterkorn - who headed the German car giant when the “dieselgate” scandal was exposed - has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in the US.
Mr Winterkorn is the most senior person involved in the scandal to face criminal charges following revelations that the company fitted 11m of its diesel cars with “defeat devices” allowing them to cheat pollution control tests.
When news of the company’s deception broke in the US in September 2015, Mr Winterkorn clung on to his job for five days before quitting.
Stepping down from the role as it emerged that cars around the world were affected, Mr Winterkorn said he was “utterly sorry” for the crisis which engulfed VW, and wiped tens of billions off the company’s market value as VW shares plunged.
Volkswagen's former boss faces charges in US over 'dieselgate'

Volkswagen has been fined more than ?20bn in the US over its cheating of pollution tests

Credit:
DPA
However, he denied any knowledge of the VW cheating emissions tests, but said as chief executive he “accepted responsibility for the irregularities”.
Mr Winterkorn added that his decision to quit was “in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part”.
The former car boss was charged in a Michigan court with conspiring to
defraud the US and violate the Clean Air Act. According to court papers unsealed on Thursday, Mr Winterkorn was briefed months before the scandal broke on the emissions issue and how US regulators were threatening to delay certifying cars for sales in the US.
Volkswagen's former boss faces charges in US over 'dieselgate'

Volkswagen's reputation has been tarnished by its admission that 11m cars were fitted with 'defeat devices'

Credit:
EPA
VW - which also owns the Audi, SEAT and Skoda brands - has paid more than $20bn in the US in fines and compensation to customers, after pleading guilty to violations there, and two other executives have been sentenced to prison there. Other VW staff face criminal charges in the US but cannot be extradited under German law.   
VW did not respond to requests for comment. The company has previously denied that senior staff were aware of the deception.
Q&A | Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” emissions scandal
 
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