Volkswagen CEO, Chairman, and Former CEO Indicted in Diesel Scandal

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen ceo chairman and former ceo indicted in diesel scandal

Methodical German prosecutors have finally made their way to the top of Volkswagen’s executive ranks, charging CEO Herbert Diess and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch with stock market manipulation.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig indicted Diess, Pötsch, and former CEO Martin Winterkorn, accusing the men of withholding information of a looming emissions scandal from investors. Winterkorn, already indicted by U.S. authorities and slapped with a fraud charge in Germany, stepped down shortly after the scandal broke in September 2015.

Diess vows to stay on as VW’s boss as the charges play out.

As reported by Reuters, lawyers for Diess state the CEO only came aboard the company in July 2015 and couldn’t have known about the eventual 37-percent stock plunge. Investors lost enormous sums from the stock devaluation once the diesel emissions cheating became public.

Diess, his lawyers claim, will defend himself by “all legal means” while continuing in his role as CEO.

While his arrival at the company came late during the scandal’s lead-up, prosecutors say Diess, Pötsch, and Winterkorn were all present at a fateful July 27th, 2015 meeting in which the company’s emissions-cheating emissions control devices were the main topic. The VW hierarchy had gathered to discuss when to inform U.S. authorities of the fact VW’s diesel models came equipped with devices specifically designed to cheat regulatory tests.

VW’s position has always been that its top brass did not have a full picture of the issue and what it would mean for the company’s stock. Ultimately, the automaker was forced to pay tens of billions of dollars in fines, fixes, and vehicle buybacks.

“The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years. The result is clear: the allegations are groundless,” said Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, VW’s board member responsible for integrity and legal affairs, in a statement reported by Autocar.

“Volkswagen AG therefore remains confident that it has fulfilled all its reporting obligations under capital markets law. If there is a trial, we are confident that the allegations will prove to be unfounded. Furthermore, the presumption of innocence applies until proven otherwise.”

[Image: Volkswagen AG]

Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Sep 24, 2019

    The bureaucrats prosecuting the auto industry are the same sorts who created this problem by social engineering people into diesel cars. Once they've done all the harm they can with diesel deflections, they'll go after blaming the auto industry for the particulate emissions their carbon scam has brought about through gasoline direct injected engines. If the auto industry survives that one, they'll kill it off blaming it for the ecological Armageddon that battery EVs will inflict on the planet. The end game is serfdom or annihilation for the vast majority of humans who escape child sex trafficking at the hands of progressives.

  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Sep 24, 2019

    i bought VW stock at the bottom and held it a few years. made a few thousand bucks with money that was originally just sitting in a checking account :)

  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged