Friday 19 May 2017

Volkswagen CEO Faces First Probe Over ‘Dieselgate’

Matthias Mueller

Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Mueller on Wednesday stood in the focus of an investigation into the world’s largest carmaker’s ‘dieselgate’ scandal for the first time, along with other key players at the firm.

Mueller and others “...are suspected of knowingly delaying telling shareholders about the financial consequences for Porsche SE of software manipulation in diesel vehicles by Volkswagen AG,” prosecutors in southwestern city Stuttgart said in a statement.

Porsche SE, separate from VW subsidiary Porsche AG, is a holding company with a majority stake in Volkswagen, and is itself owned by the descendants of renowned VW Beetle inventor Ferdinand Porsche.

VW admitted in September 2015 to using so-called “defeat device” software to cheat regulatory nitrogen oxides emissions tests in some 11 million cars worldwide, pitching the world’s largest carmaker into the deepest crisis in its history.

The revelations sent the group’s shares plummeting by 40 per cent in two days.

Along with Mueller, former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn and Porsche SE chairman Hans-Dieter Poetsch are also suspected of failing to share information with investors in their roles as Porsche SE board members, prosecutors said.

As chief executive of Porsche AG until 2015, when he took over from Winterkorn as Volkswagen chief, Mueller was not caught up in probes into those who sat on the parent company’s board up until the scandal broke.

But he did sit on the Porsche SE board before the revelations, making him a target for the present allegations.

“Porsche SE sees the accusations raised as unfounded. It believes that it has always fulfilled its duties of publication under capital markets law in an orderly fashion,” the firm countered in a statement Wednesday.



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