BERLIN — German prosecutors charged former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn with fraud over his role in the Dieselgate scandal, according to a statement issued today.
A court in Brunswick, not far from VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, said Winterkorn is one of five to be charged over the scandal, which dates back to 2015 when U.S. authorities discovered so-called defeat device software installed in millions of diesel vehicles.
The indictment list covers a series of offences, including fraud and “violating laws against unfair competition,” the court said. The charges cover the period between November 2006 and September 2015, when Winterkorn left his post as VW CEO. The former auto boss is accused of a “particularly serious case” of fraud, the court said.
Specifically, the prosecutor states that Winterkorn approved a software update in November 2014 at a cost of €23 million “which was useless and was designed to continue obscuring the real reason for the increased levels of pollutants in normal vehicle operation.”
The defeat device software was deployed by VW in around 11 million vehicles sold worldwide to…