On 24 September 2019 the German prosecutor in Braunschweig announced proceedings against VW’s CEO Herbert Diess and the Chairman of VW’s supervisory board Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn in a 636 page complaint.
The investigation and prosecution concern the withholding of insider information on rigged emissions tests four years ago. A new accusation is that VW was too late in announcing the billions of costs involved in handling Dieselgate, By that VW and the aforementioned persons violated German as well as EU legislation on market abuse aimed at protecting investors and enabling them to make informed investment decisions.
Initial reaction by managers
The managers’ lawyers contest the charges that they knowingly held back insider information. Winterkorn, VW’s CEO for about 8 years, resigned in the days after the software scandal broke. He allegedly knew nothing about the software manipulation until VW itself officially admitted so.
VW announced a meeting of its full supervisory board on Wednesday to discuss the indictments. If these indictments are allowed to proceed by the Braunschweig District Court, a new chapter is added to VW’s saga.
Alberto Ayala, who served at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) until 2017, told German news magazine Spiegel that “The excuse that top managers knew nothing is very weak.”
These criminal proceedings may shed new light on the attempts by VW’s management to mislead the market.
VEB / European Investors Class action
As a result of not making public the insider information and the eventual outbreak of Dieselgate in 2015, VW investors suffered massive losses on their investment. The investors’ association VEB/European Investors issued 4 years ago a claim against VW for the losses incurred by investors further to the infringement of US environmental legislation at the Amsterdam District Court as well as acted on behalf of several (individual and institutional) investors in the KapMuG proceedings at the Braunschweig District Court and Court of Appeal.
VEB/European Investors’ director Paul Koster welcomes the prosecutor’s complaint. He deems it is supportive of VEB/European Investors’ claim against VW.
VEB’s action against VW is open yet for registration.
Please do not hesitate to contact the VEB/European Investors if you or your organisation have incurred losses on VW shares (held on Friday evening 18 September 2015) through an investment account in the Netherlands or through a Dutch bank or broker.