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Criminal and civil law: Emissionsaffäre: The most important legal construction sites for VW

2019-09-24T13:14:37.617Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Wolfsburg (AP) - The exhaust gas crisis remains a major legal battle for VW at several locations. In Germany alone, it was originally about 2.4 million cars with manipulation software. There are around 11 million cars worldwide and nearly 600,000 in the USA.

1. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS: Ex-chief executive Martin Winterkorn was indicted in April by the prosecutor's office Braunschweig. He and four other executives are accused in the wake of the diesel scandal, among other serious fraud.

In the US Winterkorn and some other accused are accused of fraud and conspiracy, in May 2018 there was issued a warrant against the former VW boss. This is about the assumption that he was already informed before the flare-up of the affair in September 2015 about manipulations on the emission control of diesel cars.

The Braunschweig prosecutor's office examined the suspicion of market manipulation against Winterkorn - as well as against Supervisory Board chief Hans Dieter Pötsch and the current CEO Herbert Diess. All three were now being charged by prosecutors on this point. In addition, investigations are under way in Braunschweig against several suspects for allegedly wrong CO2 and consumption data as well as in one case because of the deletion of data. Also in Stuttgart there were investigations. In Munich, former Audi boss Rupert Stadler and three other defendants are accused of "fraud, indirect false certification and punishable advertising".

2. CIVIL CLAIMS: Only for comparisons in North America VW has now recorded about 30 billion euros. Compensation, however, diesel drivers also want to prevail in Germany. Consumer advocates criticize the fact that people in the US spend a lot of money, while victims in Europe have run out of money so far. There are now well over 2000 individual judgments on private civil suing plaintive diesel owners against the group or Volkswagen dealer - most of which ended with a dismissal. At the Federal Court of Justice at the end of August there were more than 30 cases. Volkswagen often tries to reach an agreement with the plaintiffs at higher levels of the court in order to avoid a fundamental judgment.

On 30 September starts at the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Braunschweig, a procedure for the so-called "Musterfeststellungsklage. Many individual claimants bundle their demands on VW - in the hope of having a closed appearance a higher chance of compensation for their vehicles in individual follow-up processes. They are represented by the consumer centers, around 430,000 car buyers joined the lawsuit.

In the US, the group agreed with plaintive car owners and the Environmental Protection Agency EPA in late August to a solution to alleged misstatement of gasoline consumption in models of several brands.

3. DEALERS 'ACCOUNTS: The exhaust gas scandal cost a lot of money - not only Volkswagen but also investors. The price of the VW share collapsed immediately after the fraud became known in autumn 2015 - at times the preference papers lost almost half of their value. Therefore, investors like the savings bank subsidiary Deka, who acts as a model plaintiff here, demand damages. The allegation: VW had informed the markets too late about the diesel drama.

The law requires that news that can affect goodwill be published promptly ("ad hoc"). Volkswagen is said to have missed exactly that.

VW had stated in a statement of defense that the much-cited «damage table» on 27 July 2015 with Winterkorn had not been informed that it could go to an inadmissible under US law defeat device. The "damage table" was always in the center of suspicion. Also stated VW, with significantly lower financial risks due to the exhaust gas crisis and calculated to have initially covered only 300 million euros.

A model procedure at the Brunswick OLG now revolves around billion claims for damages of the investors. Last year, the court had stated in a preliminary assessment that VW might actually have informed the capital market too late - but not so late after the necessary deadline, as the plaintiffs put it.

In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a new litigation in mid-March, alleging that VW has garnered more than $ 13 billion in US capital market bonds during off-spec emissions manipulation. Investors were fooled that serious violations of US environmental laws were committed at the time.

Source: zeit

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