Volkswagen bosses charged with market manipulation over Dieselgate

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Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Prosecutors in Braunschweig say CEOs failed to promptly inform investors of financial implications.

BERLIN — German prosecutors Tuesday charged current Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess, the company’s current chairman and another former boss with market manipulation related to the diesel emissions scandal.

Prosecutors in Braunschweig said Diess, Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who left his post just after the scandal broke in September 2015, failed to promptly inform investors about the financial implications of the emissions cheating.

The prosecutors argue the three accused did not announce details when they were known, instead aiming to strike a deal with U.S. authorities first. That meant investors in the company could not adjust their buying or selling behavior or their risk assessments.

Volkswagen rejects the accusations.

“The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years,” said Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, VW’s board member for legal affairs, in an emailed statement. “The result is clear: the allegations are groundless.”

“Volkswagen therefore remains confident that it has fulfilled all its reporting obligations under capital markets law. If there is a trial, we are confident that the allegations will prove to be unfounded,” said Werner.

When Volkswagen executives knew of the emissions cheating has been one of the key questions hanging over the Dieselgate scandal since it broke in 2015. VW has so far been forced to pay out more than $25 billion in compensation in the U.S.

Diess’ lawyers said he will continue as CEO while the case proceeds, according to Reuters.

Earlier this year, the former CEO of VW unit Audi, Rupert Stadler, was charged by a Munich court over his role in the scandal.

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