Criminal Justice


Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn/Wikimedia Commons.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with the company’s use of software to cheat on diesel emissions tests, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday.

Winterkorn, 70, and five other Volkswagen executives were charged in a fifth superseding indictment unsealed on Thursday, report the New York Times and Bloomberg News. A press release is here.

Winterkorn is accused of conspiring with other senior executives and employees to defraud the United States, defraud VW customers in the United States, and violate the Clean Air Act by making false representations about its “clean diesel” vehicles. The indictment alleges he was informed of diesel emissions misrepresentations in May 2014 and May 2015, then agreed to continue to perpetrate the fraud.

The five other executives named in the superseding indictment were previously charged. They apparently live in Germany and have not been apprehended, according to the Justice Department. Two former VW engineers pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and are in prison.

Germany does not extradite its citizens to countries outside the European Union, Bloomberg explains.

In January 2017, Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties in connection with the scandal. In June 2016, the company also agreed to pay $15.3 billion in a civil settlement with U.S. regulators and car owners.