Berlin, Germany | May 6
Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn may never see the inside of a courtroom in the United States in connection with the company’s diesel emissions scandal. But his legal troubles are far from over.
A VW spokesman says the German automaker’s supervisory board is checking whether it can demand damage claims from Winterkorn in connection with the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.
Michael Brendel tells German news agency dpa “the investigation has been going on for quite some while and is conducted independently from the authorities’ investigation.
German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported Sunday that Winterkorn could lose his property in connection with the company’s investigation.
Winterkorn, 70, was indicted Thursday in the United States on charges of fraud and conspiracy stemming from the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. It is unlikely that he could be extradited — Germany’s constitution forbids extradition of its citizens except to another European Union member state or to an international tribunal. But he’s far from in the clear. For one thing, he could risk arrest if he travels to another country that would be willing to send him to the U.S.
And on top of any possible attempt by Volkswagen to seek damages, Winterkorn is among suspects being investigated in a criminal probe by prosecutors in the German city of Braunschweig, located in Volkswagen’s home region.
Volkswagen has admitted to programming its diesel engines to activate pollution controls when being tested in government labs and turning them off when on the road. When he resigned in September 2015 Winterkorn said he was unaware of any wrongdoing on his part. He later told the German parliament that he did not know of the emissions cheating during the years it was going on.
The indictment detailing the U.S. charges said that Winterkorn and other top VW officials were briefed on July 27, 2015 using a PowerPoint presentation on “how VW was deceiving U.S. regulators,” the document said.