Washington: The US government on Thursday filed charges against the former executive of Volkswagen (VW), Martin Winterkorn, who resigned in 2015 after the Volkswagen emissions scandal, also known as “dieselgate” erupted in September of that year.
In an indictment unsealed on Thursday by the US Department of Justice in a Michigan federal court, Winterkorn, 70, was charged with “conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with VW’s long-running scheme to cheat US diesel vehicle emissions requirements”, Efe reported.
Winterkorn is Volkswagen’s highest-ranking executive to be charged in a probe into the German company, which “deceived American regulators and defrauded American consumers for years,” according to a statement by US Attorney Matthew J. Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan.
VW’s false representations to regulators and the public about the ability of VW’s supposedly “clean diesel” vehicles to comply with US emissions requirements affected about 600,000 vehicles across the country.
In addition to conspiracy and wire fraud, Winterkorn is also charged with the violation of the Clean Air Act, a law that aims to control air pollution.
According to the Department of Justice, Winterkorn violated the Clean Air Act at least between May 2006 and November 2015, a period in which the company installed test-recognition software in its vehicles in order that that they could detect and evade emissions testing.
The US Attorney General’s Office now considers that the unveiling of “these documents will not affect the ongoing investigation”.
In a statement, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that “these are serious allegations” and that “the full force of the law” applies to this case.