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FRANKFURT (AFP) – Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of Volkswagen, will pay the German car giant a record sum to settle a negligence case against him over the Dieselgate scandal over falsifying carbon emissions data for the company’s diesel cars, sources said. A spokesman said, without giving full details, that the company’s supervisory board “ratified at its meeting the main points of friendly agreements” to settle the case.
Winterkorn, who resigned in 2015 a week after the Dieselgate scandal was exposed, will pay about 11 million euros ($13.4 million) in damages under the deal, which also needs shareholder approval at their annual general meeting next month, according to the sources.
The spokesman indicated that the settlement agreements relating to several senior Volkswagen officials affected by the scandal will be announced “in the coming days.”
According to German media, Volkswagen is seeking to collect about one billion euros from its former executives in cases of malfunction and damage, in addition to insurance amounts covering between 200 and 500 million euros as a result of the damages caused to it. The company admitted in 2015 to using electronic “cheat devices” to falsify diesel emissions results on 11 million of its cars.
Volkswagen hinted in late March that it planned to seek damages, without giving a specific figure, after a legal investigation found that Winterkorn had violated the company’s charters by using electronic cheating software designed to tamper with emissions levels in tests.
The scandal cost the German company about $32 billion, including fines, legal fees, car recalls and modifications. The case, revealed by the US authorities, dealt a severe blow to the reputation of “Volkswagen” and the auto industry in Germany, which is looking to turn the page by switching to electric cars.
Volkswagen stresses that the diesel cheating was the work of a handful of lower-level employees who acted without the knowledge of their superiors, but prosecutors are skeptical.