Former VW bosses to pay out 288 million euros for emissions scandal

By Jan Petermann

BERLIN – Former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn and three other former senior managers have agreed to pay 288 million euros (US$ 351 million) in damages arising from the company’s diesel emissions scandal, according to court documents.

The former chairperson of the board will personally pay 11.2 million euros. In a separate move, Winterkorn has been charged with making false statements under oath while giving evidence to the German Parliament.

Under the agreement, the ex-Audi boss and VW group board member Rupert Stadler will pay 4.1 million euros. He and Winterkorn are accused of violating their duties of care under stock corporation law. Former Porsche board member Wolfgang Hatz is also contributing 1.5 million euros and former Audi manager Stefan Knirsch 1 million euros.

There are also additional insurance payments that far exceed the private amounts. Volkswagen says these payments add up to a total of 270 million euros. In addition to the lawyers of the former managers, more than 30 insurers were involved in the negotiations.

Both the personal payments and the insured coverage amounted to “by far the highest sum ever put on the table by such a consortium in Germany,” according to the negotiating team.

A company general meeting scheduled for July 22 still has to approve the resolutions. However, further questions have to be clarified before the courts themselves in proceedings that are already underway or pending.

In a separate development, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office also announced on Wednesday that Winterkorn has been charged with making false statements under oath before the Bundestag’s emissions investigation committee.

The 74-year-old is accused of having given false testimony as a witness before the committee on January 19, 2017, about when he was informed about the use of software to detect and manipulate exhaust gas values in test operations.

The former manager’s support team described the publication of the indictment as “election campaign banter.”

Winterkorn resigned more than five and a half years ago after the scandal had come to light in the US. According to his account, he only learned of the manipulations shortly before they became public knowledge. In 2017, he told an investigative committee of the Bundestag: “I cannot understand why I was not clearly informed about the measurement problems at an early stage.”

After the revelation of the nitrogen oxide manipulations in diesel engines in the US in 2015, there were legal proceedings around the globe. Volkswagen admitted its guilt in principle to the US Department of Justice for deceiving customers and authorities.


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