By Wisdom Deji-Folutile
Prosecutors have charged former Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer, Martin Winterkorn, with false testimony to the German parliament after he dishonestly said he was unaware of the carmaker’s diesel emissions cheating before it became public.
Winterkorn resigned as CEO on September 23, 2015, a week after a diesel exhaust manipulation scandal was uncovered.
Volkswagen has bulked under the weight of a big corporate crisis after the company admitted to using illegal software to rig U.S. diesel engine tests.
The “Dieselgate” scandal has cost the German carmaker more than $39bn in fines, refits and legal costs.
Winterkorn had earlier claimed that he was not informed of the dubious development until September 2015.
“In his testimony, the accused falsely claimed to have been informed of the defeat devices only in September 2015.
“According to the indictment, he had since May 2015 been aware that the engine control software of some VW vehicles had been equipped with a function to manipulate the exhaust values in testing,” the prosecutors said.
Winterkorn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In late March, the German carmaker said it would claim damages from Winterkorn for breaching his duty of care by failing to fully and swiftly clarify the circumstances behind the use of unlawful software functions in some diesel engines.