Former Volkswagen boss faces trial on second set of charges over diesel scandal

Martin Winterkorn resigned as the firm’s chief executive days after the US Environmental Protection Agency announced a notice of violation in 2015.

A Volkswagen badge on a car
A Volkswagen badge on a car

A German court has ruled former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn must face trial on a second set of charges in the company’s diesel emissions scandal.

Thursday’s announcement by the Braunschweig state court followed a decision earlier this month that he must stand trial on fraud charges.

These charges relate to alleged market manipulation.

No date has been set for either set of proceedings.

Winterkorn resigned from Volkswagen days after the US Environmental Protection Agency announced a notice of violation on September 18 2015.

The company had for years been using software that recognised when vehicles were on test stands and turned emission controls on, then turned the emission controls off during normal driving.

As a result, the cars emitted far more than the legal US limit of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that harms people’s health.

Prosecutors accuse Winterkorn of knowing about the installation of an illegal “defeat device” and deliberately failing to inform markets in good time of a “significant financial risk” that had started to materialise in early 2015.

The court said it sent the charges to trial unchanged.

Volkswagen shares dropped sharply after the scandal became public, prompting investors to demand compensation in a separate civil case.

Winterkorn’s lawyer has rejected charges the former chief executive had early knowledge of the use of the software in US diesel cars, saying significant information did not reach him.

Volkswagen has paid more than 30 billion euros (£27 billion) in fines and settlements over the scandal.

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