Volkswagen is throwing its weight behind electric cars.
It’s been four years now, but the ripple effects of Dieselgate are still going on. As the company aims to reinvigorate itself as a champion of electric cars, German prosecutors are pressing criminal charges against top executives. On Tuesday, prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany announced they would press charges against current CEO Herbert Diess, as well as chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn.
According to a Reuters report, these charges accuse Diess and the others of stock market manipulation. More specifically, prosecutors allege they knowingly held back vital information related to the scandal as it erupted back in 2015. At the time, Diess was a chairman on Volkswagen’s management board, while Winterkorn was CEO. Poetsch was a management board member since 2003 and became a chairman in 2015. If the Braunschweig state court accept the indictment, trial proceedings will take place at a later date.
Attorneys for the three accused executives said they would contest the charges that they held back information for purposes of manipulating the market. VW’s supervisory board will meet Wednesday to discuss the indictment. However, the company did issue a short statement following an emergency meeting. VW’s executive committee said it “cannot see that there was any deliberate attempt not to inform the capital market,” according to the Reuters report.
As it stands, the company is still struggling to pull itself out of the scandal caused by cheating diesel emission testing. To date, Dieselgate cost Volkswagen Group over $30 billion in fines, vehicle modifications, buybacks and other penalties. Investigations into those connected to the illegal defeat devices continues, as it also claimed ex-Audi CEO Rupert Stadler earlier this year. Both German and U.S. prosecutors charged Winterkorn with fraud earlier this year for his alleged role in manipulating emissions testing.