German prosecutors announced on Tuesday that Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess, chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, and former CEO Martin Winterkorn are being hit with criminal charges for allegedly waiting to tell investors about the automaker’s rampant emissions cheating.
The German automaker installed software on the cars that recognized when they were being put through emissions testing. When the cars were back on the road, they polluted nitrogen oxide at up to 40 times more than the allowed levels. 11 million vehicles were affected around the world. Volkswagen has been hit with a number of fines and settlements totaling more than $30 billion since the scandal broke, four years ago. Multiple executives and employees have been charged, arrested, or forced out of their positions.
New charges against Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen , were also revealed in an indictment running to nearly 640 pages. Volkswagen said in a statement that the allegations are unfounded. "The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years," said Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, a senior executive responsible for legal affairs. The carmaker employs roughly 650,000 workers.