The investigation was long and complex - but in the end probably not convincing enough for the court to start a process. The case against the VW leadership because of possible market manipulation in the diesel scandal should end against conditions. Defeat of the indictment?
Braunschweig / Wolfsburg (dpa) - Nine million euros for the termination of the proceedings: According to Volkswagen, this sum is intended to avoid a public lawsuit against CEO Herbert Diess and chief overseer Hans Dieter Pötsch in the process of possible market manipulation in the diesel affair.
As it said on Tuesday evening from the group, they had agreed with the district court Braunschweig on this requirement. This could mean that one of the central legal investigations into the emergence and announcement of the exhaust gas scandal in the fall of 2015 could be about to end.
The Braunschweig public prosecutor charged Diess and Pötsch in September last year after long investigations. Their accusation: Both are said to have informed investors too late about the impending financial consequences of the nitrogen oxide manipulation on millions of diesel vehicles. The tricks exposed around "Dieselgate" had plunged VW and finally the entire car industry into a crisis of confidence about four and a half years ago. Irregularities in exhaust emissions have also been criticized by other manufacturers.
In the case of Diess and Pötsch, 4.5 million euros are now to be paid, according to Volkswagen. The "Manager-Magazin" had previously reported on the agreement, which initially remained uncommented by the district court and the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig in the evening. The judges had not yet decided on the admission of the indictment, the so-called interim proceedings were still ongoing.
"The Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG welcomes the termination of the proceedings," the company said. His legal advisors see their assessment confirmed that the allegations against the CEO and the chief controller are not well founded. The law firm Gleiss Lutz, which advised VW, was also convinced that Diess and Pötsch also "had not violated any obligations towards Volkswagen AG under civil law". Both agreed to the plan to terminate the payment procedure.
Former boss Martin Winterkorn is also charged with market manipulation. His trial could also soon be terminated against conditions, as was heard from his surroundings on Tuesday. Above all, the public prosecutor's office has concerns, it said. In another trial, Winterkorn is also charged with serious fraud related to the diesel affair. Again, the indictment is not yet allowed, the court had recently shown doubts about the validity of some allegations.
Winterkorn's lawyer Felix Dörr had rejected the allegations. His client had "had no early knowledge of the targeted use of prohibited engine control software in US diesel cars". Who exactly knew what about the deceptions at what time is still unclear in many ways. Additional proceedings are ongoing, and investigations have also been conducted in the United States and several other countries.
The Braunschweig investigators had checked whether the VW executives knew earlier than conceded of concrete deceptions regarding exhaust gas data. They accused the "named - former or incumbent - members of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, contrary to their legal duty, deliberately informing the capital market too late of the billions in payment obligations resulting from the exposure of the so-called diesel scandal and thus illegally influencing the To have taken the company's stock market price. "
Investors are demanding compensation for the collapse in the share price at the time: they argue that the VW top should have informed the financial world about the risks of the diesel crisis earlier. A capital market model process is also running in Braunschweig.
Today's CEO Diess joined the group in July 2015 and was initially only the head of the Volkswagen core brand. The defense lawyers had explained that the indictment was incomprehensible: Neither the facts nor the legal situation justified the accusation that this had constituted a criminal act of market manipulation. Some observers had also wondered how the VW boss should have continued his company in the event of many recurring court hearings.
Pötsch, on the other hand, was VW's CFO when the then CEO Winterkorn granted the exhaust gas tricks. His lawyer Norbert Scharf had said that his client had nothing to reproach. Pötsch already had "multiple contact with the US diesel problem" in summer 2015. But: "None of this information had content and quality prior to the publication of the Notice of Violation (announcement of violations by the US authorities) on September 18, 2015, so that it was recognizable as relevant to capital market law."