Top Volkswagen bosses indicted over emissions scandal

FRANKFURT: German prosecutors have accused Volkswagen’s CEO of holding back market-moving information on rigged emissions tests four years ago, raising the prospect of a fresh upheaval at the carmaker just as it tries to reinvent itself as a champion of clean driving.

Prosecutors in the city of Braunschweig said on Tuesday they would press criminal charges of stock market manipulation against Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess as well as non-executive Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn.

The charges show how the German company – which in September 2015 admitted using illegal software to cheat US diesel engine tests – is struggling to move on from a scandal, which has cost it more than $30 billion in vehicle refits, fines and provisions.

Court proceedings are under way over that admission. The indictment from the prosecutors in Braunschweig – in Volkswagen’s home region of Lower Saxony – is part of a separate legal push to try managers over an alleged delay in informing investors of the company’s wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the three accused said they would contest the charges that they knowingly held back vital information.

Volkswagen said its full supervisory board would convene on Wednesday to discuss the indictments.

Separately on Tuesday, German prosecutors hit rival carmaker Daimler with an €870-million fine for breaking diesel emissions rules. The Stuttgart-based maker of Mercedes-Benz cars said it would not appeal.

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