FRANKFURT — Prosecutors in the German city of Braunschweig said on Monday they were pressing criminal charges against former Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn in connection with the carmaker's manipulation of diesel emissions testing.
VW was caught using illegal engine control software to cheat U.S. pollution tests in 2015, triggering a global backlash against diesel that and has so far cost it $32.8 billion.
Prosecutors said Winterkorn was accused of a particularly serious case of fraud, breach of trust and breaching competition laws because he had not acted — despite having a special responsibility to do so as the company's CEO — after it became clear on May 25, 2014, that diesel engines had been manipulated.
About a year ago, the United States filed criminal charges against Winterkorn, accusing him of conspiring to cover up the German automaker's diesel emissions cheating.
In a related case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Winterkorn last month, saying U.S. investors were informed too late about the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal, alleging a "massive fraud".