Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn charged in diesel emissions scandal

Enlarge / Martin Winterkorn looks on during the FC Bayern Muenchen Annual General Assembly at Audi-Dome on November 24, 2017 in Munich. (credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed a secret March indictment charging Martin Winterkorn, former Volkswagen CEO, with conspiracy to defraud the US government and customers, wire fraud, and conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.

The charges stem from the VW Group diesel emissions scandal that broke in 2015. The company already pleaded guilty to various related charges in US federal court, and it has paid out billions of dollars in fines and buybacks to former customers.

The emissions scandal arose when Audi, VW, and Porsche diesel models were discovered to contain illegal software that suppressed the emissions control system when the driver was on the road. If the car was being tested in a lab, however, sensors would tell the car to keep the emissions control system engaged. The result was that VW Group’s so-called “clean diesel” vehicles were actually emitting nitrogen oxide (NOx) far in excess of the legal limit.

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Source: Ars Technica

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