16 April 2019
German prosecutors charged former Volkswagen (VW) CEO Martin Winterkorn (in picture) with fraud on Monday over his role in the carmaker’s manipulation of diesel emissions testing. It has been already three years since the scandal came to light. Winterkorn resigned shortly after the scandal came to light. Germany filed charges nearly a year after the United States filed charges against Winterkorn, accusing him of conspiring to cover up the emissions cheating.
VW used illegal engine control software to cheat the pollution control tests. The scandal cost VW some $33 billion globally so far.
The German prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Winterkorn and four other managers have been charged. It did not give the names of the other four or say whether they were still employed by Volkswagen.
In March 2017, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements and reached a $4.3 million settlement with U.S. Justice Department. VW agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting vehicles.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing which caused the vehicles’ nitrogen oxide output to meet US standards during regulatory testing, but emit up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving. Volkswagen deployed this programming software in about eleven million cars worldwide, including 500,000 in the United States.
The scandal showed that all diesel-powered vehicles from a wide range of car makers, which under real-world driving conditions emitted higher levels of pollution exceeding legal emission limits.
On 14 March 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Volkswagen and its former CEO Martin Winterkorn alleging that they defrauded investors by selling corporate bonds and asset-backed securities by making false and misleading statements to government regulators, underwriters, and consumers as to the quality of their automobiles. Reuters reported.
Emissions from diesel vehicles have been reported to be significantly more harmful than those from petrol vehicles and diesel cars emit around 20 times more nitrogen oxides than petrol cars.
However, there are technologies that will reduce the harmful effects of the exhaust. Most of the heavy commercial vehicles that consume a lot of diesel energy belong to older period and cannot benefit from the new technologies. Green energy light vehicles can restore a balance for the time being, till they become the main mode of transportation.
Germany: Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn charged with fraud.
16 April 2019