Former Volkswagen president Martin Winterkorn, who led the auto giant when the Dieselgate scandal came to light, was charged in Berlin with false testimony to a parliamentary inquiry into the manipulated engine scandal, the prosecution said on Wednesday ( 9).
The former executive is accused of having “willfully lied” to deputies about the moment he learned of the illegal programs in Volkswagen car engines, according to a statement from the prosecution.
Winterkorn and other former executives from the 12-brand group are expected to face trial starting in September in a macro trial for “fraud in a criminal organization.”
The Berlin Prosecutor’s Office accuses Winterkorn of knowing “since May 2015” that the cars could pass anti-pollution tests. But he explained to Parliament that he didn’t know until September 2015, just before the scandal broke.
Volkswagen then acknowledged that it had equipped 11 million of its diesel vehicles with a program to make them look less polluting than they actually were.
The issue would have been dealt with at a meeting in July 2015, the prosecution said.
Dieselgate, which has generated lawsuits in several countries, has already cost Volkswagen 30 billion euros (183.96 billion reais), mainly in the United States, where the German group pleaded guilty to fraud in 2017.
Winterkorn also has to pay a record amount of around 11 million euros (67.45 million reais) to the company, which claims compensation.