Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the US related to the massive diesel emissions cheating scandal that has ensnared the German automaker for almost three years. According to Bloomberg, Winterkorn’s indictment was unsealed in federal court in Michigan on Thursday. The former CEO was also charged with violations of the Clean Air Act.
Winterkorn is the latest former VW executive to face charges in the Dieselgate investigation, which has cost the automaker billions of dollars in fines and settlement money and severely damaged its reputation on a global scale. Last December, Oliver Schmidt, the former head of Volkswagen’s US environmental and engineering office, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Former engineer James Liang was sentenced in August to 40 months in prison and a $200,000 fine.
Winterkorn resigned from VW pretty quickly after Dieselgate came to light in 2015. A year later, German prosecutors indicated they were investigating the former VW boss at the behest of the country’s banking regulators. That investigation wasn’t directly related to the cheating itself, which saw millions of diesel-equipped vehicles fitted with software designed to evade emissions testing in order to meet fuel economy claims at the environment’s expense. But today’s indictment on fraud charges would appear to be linked to that sprawling scandal.
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