Berlin Prosecutors Charge Ex-VW CEO for Giving False Testimony in ‘Dieselgate’ Scandal

Berlin prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they have issued charges against former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn for providing false testimony to the German parliament when he claimed that he was oblivious of the carmaker’s emissions-cheating “Dieselgate” scandal before it became public.

The German automobile giant has been struggling to face the crisis that emerged after it admitted that it has been using illegal software to rig its U.S. diesel engine tests.

The “Dieselgate” scandal – deemed as one of the biggest corporate crises in the automotive industry – has made Volkswagen shed more than 32 billion euros ($39 billion) to settle fines, refits and legal costs.

“The public prosecutor’s office accuses the defendant of giving false testimony on January 19, 2017, as a witness before the ’emissions’ investigation committee,” the Berlin prosecutors said in a press release on Wednesday.

The indictment stresses that the former chief executive of Volkswagen had been aware “that the engine control software of some VW vehicles had been equipped with a function to manipulate the exhaust values in testing” since May 2015.

However, prosecutors said that Winterkorn falsely claimed that he only became aware of the illegal devices in September 2015.

Aside from the fresh charges, Winterkorn is also facing trial in Germany for his alleged involvement in an organized commercial fraud and serious tax evasion in relation to the diesel emissions scandal.

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