Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn had known about the manipulations with emissions tests for some time before the diesel scandal at the car manufacturer became public.
Prosecutors say this in the trial of former Volkswagen drivers and engineers that began on Thursday. The four are suspected of complicity in fraud and deception.
Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that the company had cheated in emissions tests using pirated software. As a result, millions of diesel cars appeared less polluting than they were. The Volkswagen leadership would have initially tried to keep the scandal quiet.
A test in 2014 would have shown that Volkswagen cars had exceeded the permitted limit value for nitrogen oxides by a factor of 15 to 35. This would also have been communicated to Winterkorn. Nevertheless, the CEO failed to stop using the cheating software. “He waived disclosure and hoped to continue to conceal the violations of the law,” the indictment read.
Also, in the summer of 2015, Volkswagen executives are said to have discussed the matter. The meeting discussed, among other things, the extent of imminent fines in the United States. According to the prosecutors, all those present had agreed to conceal the existence of the cheating software, which manipulated the emissions in test situations.
Winterkorn has also been charged with market manipulation for deliberately late informing investors about the financial consequences of the fraudulent software affair. As a result, the trial against him starts later.