Volkswagen Execs Hiring Defense Lawyers En Masse as U.S. Authorities Snoop in Germany

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen execs hiring defense lawyers en masse as u s authorities snoop in germany

Volkswagen appears to be suiting up for an impending battle. The road has been a long and difficult, but the diesel emissions scandal seems as if it’s about to begin its third and final act.

Dozens of German Volkswagen AG officials have hired criminal defense lawyers as the United States Department of Justice elevates its investigation into the company. U.S. authorities have traveled across the Atlantic to conduct additional interviews with managers and gather further evidence on VW’s plot to elude America’s emission regulations.

Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. has already helped broker a civil settlement that will cost the Wolfsburg, Germany, company more than $16 billion in fines and penalties. The Justice Department, characterizing the diesel cheating as a 10-year conspiracy to deceive environmental officials, has said it will pursue criminal charges against not only the company but also individuals.

Volkswagen had hoped to have everything concluded before the Obama administration left office, but with the probe just ramping up, it looks like that won’t be possible. After the regime change, the proceedings will pass onto the Trump directorate, which has stated its clear interest to name Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Sessions, a former federal prosecutor from Alabama, has said he would not back down from charging a major company and its leadership if there was any evidence of criminal activity.

While the United States can certainly charge individuals, getting those executives to stand trial in the states could be extremely difficult — German citizens cannot be extradited from their home country. Right now, the identity of those executives is a matter of speculation. In September, prosecutors obtained a guilty plea and cooperation from a former VW engineer who reported directly to company executives. Outside of that lone engineer, it isn’t obvious who, if anyone, might also face charges.

Volkswagen has asserted that management had no knowledge of the choice to implement the emission-cheating software. Even former company CEO Martin Winterkorn, who left as a direct result of the scandal in 2015, took responsibility for the issue while denying any personal wrongdoing or involvement.

[Image: Volkswagen of America]

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  • Amancuso Amancuso on Dec 06, 2016

    The prices for my new gas VWs has not plummeted. The 2014 models we owned with the 1.8T engines were insanely reliable up to 45 K miles before trading them in. Zero recalls (for the 14's we had). Now we have 3 2016s 2 Jettas (1.8T and 1.4T) and a GTI. The Jettas are performing beautifully with the 1.4T returning over 40MPG highway on a regular basis and the GTI has had 1 recall for a fuel suction pump. We are incredibly happy with the cars and are sold on the brand.

  • MrGrieves MrGrieves on Dec 06, 2016

    Being an Alabamian, I really doubt Sessions is going to go after VW execs with any real gusto. His priorities will be rolling back Roe v. Wade, trying to subvert the voting rights act, and bringing free speech cases forward that adhere to his definition of it (flag burning bad, prayer in schools good.) But - I have my buyback scheduled for Dec. 21. See ya later, fellas.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.