Former VW CEO Charged With Conspiracy Over Dieselgate Scandal

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud stemming from the company’s massive Dieselgate scandal.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Winterkorn has been charged with four counts of violating federal law. The first count is the most serious as it alleges “Winterkorn conspired with other senior VW executives and employees to defraud the United States.”

The first count also says the company defrauded U.S. customers and violated the Clean Air Act by “making false representations to regulators and the public about the ability of VW’s supposedly ‘clean diesel’ vehicles to comply with U.S. emissions requirements.”

The remaining three counts charge Winterkorn committed wire fraud in connection with the scheme.

Winterkorn was informed Volkswagen was cheating in 2014

According to the government, Winterkorn was told about the emissions cheating in May 2014 and, again, in July 2015. The indictment alleges after Winterkorn was “clearly informed of the emissions cheating” he agreed with senior VW executives to continue to “perpetrate the fraud and deceive U.S. regulators.”

Interestingly, the government’s case seems to focus on the fallout of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation in the spring of 2014. The study examined driving emissions from two diesel-powered Volkswagen vehicles and results showed both had significantly elevated levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

The government says Volkswagen quickly learned about the results of the study and Bernd Gottweis, a senior manager who was responsible for product safety issues, met with employees of the engine development department to discuss it. Shortly after the meeting, Gottweis wrote a one-page memorandum describing the results of the test and warned that Volkswagen couldn’t explain why NOx emissions were significantly higher during the test. The memo also stated it was likely that authorities would investigate whether or not the vehicles contained defeat devices. Gottweis’ memorandum and a cover note, authored by an unnamed senior VW executive, were then sent to Winterkorn.

The government says Volkswagen declined to come clean after memorandum was written on May 22th, 2014. Volkswagen continued to deny the existence of defeat devices until the summer of 2015. At the time, U.S. regulators threatened to withhold authorization for Volkswagen to sell 2016 model year vehicles in the United States until the company explained the discrepancies raised by the ICCT study.

Volkswagen executives were shown a PowerPoint presentation detailing the cheating

The threat to stop U.S. sales reportedly sent Volkswagen into panic mode and they held a “damage table meeting” on July 27th, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. The meeting was reportedly attended by a number of senior Volkswagen executives including Winterkorn. They were allegedly shown a PowerPoint presentation which explained “(1) how VW was deceiving U.S. regulators, including precisely what information had been disclosed and what had not yet been disclosed; and (2) the potential consequences of VW being caught cheating.”

After this meeting, Winterkorn allegedly approved a course of action to send Oliver Schmidt to meet with a senior CARB official to get the approval to sell 2016 model year vehicles in the United States without revealing the defeat device. VW executives also approved a script, “consistent with Winterkorn’s alleged directive,” for a meeting with CARB to conceal their emissions cheating.

However, the whole charade fell apart at that CARB meeting as a Volkswagen employee in “direct contravention of the instructions from his superiors” revealed the company’s 2.0-liter TDI engines were using defeat devices. Less than one month later, on September 3rd 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using defeat devices.

VW will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “If you try to deceive the United States, then you will pay a heavy price.” He went on to say “The indictment unsealed today alleges that Volkswagen’s scheme to cheat its legal requirements went all the way to the top of the company.” Sessions added the government will “prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Department of Justice says the investigation is ongoing as Volkswagen committed “unprecedented emissions cheating.” The government notes Volkswagen plead guilty to criminal charges in March of 2017 that it deceived U.S. regulatory agencies – including the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board – by using defeat devices. As part of a plea agreement, the automaker was paid a $2.8 billion fine.

  • LWOAP

    Welp, better get comfortable and grab a chair. This won’t be the last time we hear of this.

    • Autoexperte

      The criminal organization Volkswagen belongs cleaned, that means VW should enlighten,
      stop animal experiments and espionage activities, stop paying levies

      Martin Winterkorn, Javier Garcia-Sanz, Ferdinand Piech, Wolfgang Porsche, Hans-Dieter Pötsch, Rupert Stadler, Bernd Osterloh, Wolfgang Hatz and Matthias Müller are all in court

      • Daniela Wolf

        25 Billion € what else do u want?!

        • Autoexperte

          The appropriate persons like Martin Winterkorn or Ferdinand Piech need punishment, such as a heavy fine, not just the company

          and the punishments are too low, because they did not cause enlightenment and rethinking

          • Daniela Wolf

            No more left to say when people think that 25 Billion are not enough…..

          • botornot387

            Besides, there is no communicating with a troll. Honestly, who is going to punish the US government when we roll back standards anyways. This punishment was more than enough considering the other players who have cheated are still running around with no penalties or trivial penalties.

          • Daniela Wolf

            Good point!^^

          • SteersUright

            I think you need to learn more about how the justice system in a democracy is supposed to work.

          • Daniela Wolf

            Iam living in a european democracy without arbitration courts….
            Were we live this justice system is illegal……..

          • Autoexperte

            You are from Volkswagen, it’s Germany

            I don’t like the behaviour of the company

          • SteersUright

            Let me see, your democratic “justice system” will not prosecute and jail rich executives, just fine them? Your justice system will very likely throw a poor person in jail for stealing an apple from a supermarket though right? Rethink your priorities and justifications.

          • Daniela Wolf

            German laws, german justice system and european laws, european justice system is different to the US system.

        • SteersUright

          Money isnt everything. When the rich can pay to escape jail it isnt a real democracy. They should be punished like every other person would be punished when they break the law.

  • Autoexperte

    good

  • badcyclist

    Wow– the cheating, lying, corruption, and self-dealing goes all the way to the top? Knock me over with a feather.

    Here’s hoping it’s a trial run for draining the foul swamp that enveloped the pretty little white building just north of the Washington Monument last year.

    • Moveon Libtards

      Yes, I am very satisfied our President is draining the swamp as we speak. The swamp creatures dont like it, as evidenced in the their routine spazzes, but that is a good thing.

      Qanonposts dot com has all the details and what is to come. Check it out.

  • Research Janitor

    Justice Department is a joke.

    • Autoexperte

      German justice is a joke

      • Daniela Wolf

        U WANNA KNOW WHAT IS A JOKE?

        arbitral tribunals

        • Autoexperte

          Daniela Wolf is from Volkswagen

          • Daniela Wolf

            Are u sure about that!

          • Autoexperte

            Yes

          • Daniela Wolf

            U really should visit a doctor, thx.

          • Autoexperte

            No

    • Moveon Libtards

      Yup, the last administration made it so corrupt and useless. But times are changing…

      #Q anon

  • Well we have to thank that German for not “just following orders”….

    • Moveon Libtards

      The less Germans that follow Merkel’s orders, the better the world will be…

  • Moveon Libtards

    The EU is collapsing before our eyes…

    No love lost.

  • Moveon Libtards

    THE END IS NEAR FOR TESLA:

    During a highly unusual earnings call, Tesla Inc.’s chief executive officer cut off analysts and got defensive about probing questions pertaining to the electric-car maker’s finances. The company burned through more than $1 billion for the third time in four quarters.

    Musk, 46, said he won’t need to go back to equity or debt markets this year to seek additional funds for Tesla, but crossing Wall Street may be a bad idea. The billionaire wooed investors into buying $1.8 billion worth of bonds in August, which fell within a week. Five months earlier, Tesla sold about $1.25 billion worth of stock and convertible debt.

    Here were some of the most head-scratching moments of the call:

    Don’t make a federal case

    Musk aimed his sharpest words at Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein, who rates Tesla the equivalent of a hold. After the analyst asked a question about whether the company could reach its 25 percent gross margin target on the Model 3, Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said recently imposed tariffs, more expensive commodities and higher labor costs factored into the company’s guidance.

    “Yeah, but we’re talking about a 3 percent to 5 percent difference, and that’s something that we’ll solve like within three months to six months later,” Musk said. “So don’t make a federal case out of it.”

    Boring, Bonehead Questions

    Sacconaghi pressed ahead with another query about Tesla lowering its 2018 capital expenditure projection to $3 billion, from $3.4 billion. Ahuja said the carmaker would spend less by simplifying its approach to automation and curtailing infrastructure outlays.

    “And so where specifically will you be in terms of capital requirements?” Sacconaghi said.

    “Excuse me. Next. Next,” Musk said to the call operator. “Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?”

  • Rocket

    I think it’s safe to say Martin and the fam won’t be vacationing in the States anytime soon.

    • Enter Ranting

      No Mount Rushmore for you, Martin!

  • R55

    Only watched the Dirty Money episode last night on Netflix, centred around Dieselgate. Right at the end saying this guy was left untouched.

    Amazing what they got away with, worth a watch for anyone wanting more context.

  • Enter Ranting

    Did the PowerPoint presentation include tips on effectively gassing monkeys? VW needs to move their headquarters to a lair in a hollowed-out volcano.

  • botornot387

    So hellbent on punishing a company that is not American for cheating, while we are rolling back federal fuel standards saying they are unachievable. The irony… Though I do think any of these guys should go down for knowing and pushing it.

  • Autoexperte

    Thank you!

  • Daniela Wolf

    Iam from europe therefore i know that. 😛

  • SteersUright

    We should all be happy when very rich and powerful criminals are brought to justice. It is a rare day indeed and should restore faith in democratic governments. It is not only the poor and middle class that should go to jail when they break the law while the rich just pay fines and are never properly punished. When the big bank executives gambled with our future in the 2000’s and nobody went to jail in 2009, that was a true failure of justice.
    I couldn’t be more proud of our DOJ and the German authorities for doing the right thing.

  • Autoexperte

    I know you from the comments in German car magazines

    I´m out of your discussion, have a nice day

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