Representatives of the US authorities are in Germany in order to try to solve the crisis with the Volkswagen pollution scam. According to the well informed , several executive managers of Volkswagen Group have engaged criminal defense lawyers, since the Justice Department is setting up the meetings for potential charges in the case of the emission scandal that still shaking the biggest German car producer.
Even though the US authorities helped in efforts to make the deal worth about $16 billion in civil settlements, it is already several times announced that the criminal charges will be raised against not only the company, but some members of the management also.
Still no clear who will be under press charges
The investigators from the U.S. have impelled some of the VW workers to travel to the U.S. Reason would be to answer on US prosecutors questions far from German authorities, though they also building their case against VW officials. Well informed sources saying that the employees can be asked to testify against their superiors. Such case has already happened in September when one former VW got the guilty plea in exchange for his cooperation.
However, still is is not clear who will take charges for the fraud. Former CEO Martin Winterkorn, took responsibility for the scandal when he resigned in September 2015 but said he wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing on his part. VW has said top management were unaware of the decision to install the software to cheat emissions tests. “The then and current board of management of Volkswagen AG had, at any rate, no knowledge of the use of unlawful engine-management software at the time,” Volkswagen wrote in its annual report for 2015.
German authorities already announced that they do not have any proofs of evidence showing that Volkswagen’s executives approved the diesel-cheating program. German authorities are investigating whether Winterkorn and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch were too slow to inform the market about the investigation into the cheating devices.
If decide to pursue the executives in Germany, Justice Department will need to find the way how to get them to the U.S. soil. Germany’s constitution doesn’t allow citizens to be extradited outside the European Union.
After Volkswagen publicly admitted to the diesel-cheating last year, it has embarked on a large-scale overhaul, focusing on electric cars after decades of diesel development. To help fund the shift, it reached an agreement on Nov. 18 to cut as many as 30,000 jobs, saving it about $3.9 billion. The company also faces outstanding civil claims from several U.S. states and is facing hundreds of investor lawsuits in Germany.