VW Attempting to Block Emissions Audit in Constitutional Court
Volkswagen Group said on Thursday that it would be petitioning Germany’s constitutional court to overturn the appointment of a special auditor to investigate the actions of its management during its diesel emissions scandal. Appointed last November, the auditor’s goal is to establish whether or not VW’s top brass withheld information about the manipulation of vehicle emissions as they related to testing.
Even thought the automaker has said it wanted to improve transparency shortly after the scandal kicked off in September of 2015, Volkswagen wants the work of the auditor suspended prior to the constitutional-court hearing against it. This begs the question: Does VW still have something to hide or is it so fed up with the litigation surrounding “dieselgate” that it’ll do just about anything to keep officials from dredging up the past?
There are certainly reasons to suspect the former. Prosecuted employee Oliver Schmidt indicated that he was misused by the automaker during his trail, suggesting that the company advised him to cover up the truth. Likewise, longstanding Volkswagen pater familias Ferdinand Piëch outright said the firm’s executive board had been made aware of the illegal manipulation of diesel exhaust gasses months before the public disclosure — a claim which further strained his relationship with his clan.
However accusations, no matter how damning, aren’t proof. The automaker has said it would be heading to the constitutional court for appeal. According to Reuters, a previous attempt in the German town of Celle ruled that VW was ineligible. The automaker is now saying that decision was a violation of its rights.
In addition to the potentially criminal implications of the auditor’s findings, investor groups are seeking billions in damages from VW on the grounds that its executive management board was aware of emissions cheating and failed to disclose possible financial damages to investors in a timely manner. German securities law also requires companies to publish any market-sensitive news promptly.
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