U.S. Gives Volkswagen's New Boss 'Safe Passage' Guarantee

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
u s gives volkswagens new boss 8216 safe passage guarantee

Shortly after the United States formally accused former CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn of criminal wrongdoing related to the company’s diesel emission scandal, it decided to let the company’s new boss know that he’s safe to visit whenever he likes. The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to give Herbert Diess a safe-passage deal that allows him to travel without fear of being arrested.

Diess was also given the country’s assurance that he’ll be given advance notice if prosecutors eventually decide to charge him over the emissions cheating issue. So far as we know, no such deal exists for his predecessor, Matthias Müller, who replaced Winterkorn in September of 2015.

While the arrangement is supposed to be confidential, Bloomberg reported that two people familiar with the matter have confirmed its existence. “This is certainly a unique situation, and there are likely facts that the general public is not aware of that would allow for such an arrangement,” said formal federal prosecutor Michael Koenig.

Since Diess joined VW shortly before the scandal became public knowledge, there is little reason to assume he was involved in the subterfuge. However, he was in attendance for a July 27, 2015 meeting where U.S. emissions irregularities were explained to senior managers. That gathering is believed to have been the moment when Winterkorn “approved the continued concealment of the cheating software from U.S. regulators.”

Being privy to that meeting may mean Diess has important information. The safe-passage deal may even have hinged upon him sharing some of that information. Witnesses and subjects of investigations are sometimes guaranteed safe travel so they can testify. Still, sources have already said Diess didn’t help with the case against Winterkorn. So authorities are presumably holding out hopes that he’ll want to talk later and/or have already cleared him of any criminal involvement worthy of arrest.

How involved Diess was in the emissions scandal is unclear, though. It’s unlikely he played any role in the decision to implement defeat devices in VW Group cars, but he may have withheld information about a corporate cover-up. In Germany, he’s under investigation for market manipulation, but so are a gaggle of other high-ranking Volkswagen employees. The most we can assume is that he’s a person of interest right now.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 07, 2018

    He always invited to come and live in California. Federal law does not apply to California and besides California is an open border sanctuary state.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on May 08, 2018

      Could say the same thing about the states which restrict voting rights, among other things that are national law (like abortion rights).

  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on May 09, 2018

    >U.S. Gives Volkswagen’s New Boss ‘Safe Passage’ Guarantee Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

  • Tassos This is yesterday;s news, or even the day before. I reported it here yesterday, and commented on it. Do wake up.
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  • Tassos SNAAB shot itself in the foot when it BASTARDIZED its unique brand by BADGE ENGINEERING its vehicles with GOD DAMNED GM, OPEL, CHEVY, LANCIA and who knows what other automotive RIFF RAFF. I know of no Saab Enthusiast (they do exist) who felt sorry when the stupid maker went BANKRUPT.
  • 28-Cars-Later Example is located in Coldwater Michigan, so..." needs work -- including new brakes."Brakes, brake lines, probably fuel lines. Probably should hit the master cylinder too unless there are seal only kits for it."It has an automatic transmission."Likely needs a new one of those as well."an exhaust leak"Add an exhaust to the list."an inaccurate speedo."Wow and TMU to boot!These days five to six bills isn't too horrible but this example could turn into a headache really quick due to parts availability. The right buyer for this is a small time tradesman, the HVAC guy who was just leaving my house is rolling a late P80 Volvo 850 sedan in manual which he treats like a truck. Said he'd love a wagon if he ever came across one... if you're local to Coldwater Michigan this is a nice work beater. Annual inspection/registration tax probably costs nearly as much as the car.
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