Former Volkswagen CEO Under Investigation in Diesel Scandal

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
former volkswagen ceo under investigation in diesel scandal

The first suspect identified by German prosecutors in their probe of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal is none other than the company’s former CEO.

Martin Winterkorn is under investigation for his role in the “defeat device” deception after the country’s financial watchdog demanded it, according to the New York Times.

Winterkorn resigned last September, shortly after charges leveled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency blew the lid off the scandal. Since then, the former CEO has been dogged by questions of how much he knew about the deception, and when.

Prosecutors in the German city of Braunschweig clearly had questions of their own. In a statement, they said Winterkorn’s investigation stems from concerns that he waited too long to reveal that Volkswagen was being investigated by U.S. regulators.

The defeat device installed in diesel Volkswagens from 2009 onwards was well known in certain circles. The decision to use it came years after it was invented by Audi engineers, and investigators even found a PowerPoint presentation from 2006 that explained how the device worked.

After he removed himself from the picture, documents came to light that showed Winterkorn was sent a memo detailing the issue a year before the EPA made its move. The matter was also discussed at a board meeting that he attended in the summer of 2015, though the former CEO maintained that he wasn’t aware of the looming charges until shortly before the scandal became public.

Prosecutors said an person who was a member of the management board at the time is also under investigation. Recently, Volkswagen employees came forward to say a manager implicitly told them to destroy evidence of the deception in August 2015.

According to the prosecutors, the second person under investigation is not Hans Dieter Pötsch, the company’s former chief financial officer.

[Image: Volkswagen AG/ Wikimedia Commons]

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  • Truecarhipsterdouche Truecarhipsterdouche on Jun 20, 2016

    He should use the Hillary defense...."what difference does it make." Seems to be working for her.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jun 21, 2016

    He can deny all culpability and knowledge, as he was not at home during the time the mail was delivered that Saturday. He also didn't hear anything at the shareholder meeting because he was on the other side of the room, and his chair had a squeaky wheel.

  • Prabirmehta Great review! Brought back memories of my 2005 Z4 - loved it! I recently drove the 2023 Z4 and it felt similar in many ways to my 2005 (despite the much nicer and updated interior). Now your review has me rethinking whether to buy another one? :)
  • Haruhi Where’s this exact location
  • ToolGuy This is a good approach and a nice writeup, but it shows Tim Healey as the author. Who wrote it?
  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
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