Currently reading: Volkswagen CEO Diess accused of market manipulation
German prosecutor's office has filed charges against a number of current and former Volkswagen executives

Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess is among a number of current and former executives from the firm who have been charged with stock market manipulation in relation to Dieselgate by German prosecutors.

The prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig has filed criminal charges against Diess, chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn. They have been charged with intentionally failing to inform investors in time about the financial impact of the scandal. By doing so, they improperly influenced the share price of the company. The charges follow an investigation by BaFin, Germany’s independent financial regulatory authority.

Lawyers for Diess told the Reuters news agency that he will keep his role as Volkswagen's CEO and defend himself with “all legal means”. They said that Diess joined the firm only in July 2015, and it was therefore not possible for him to foresee that the diesel issues would have financial consequences that would affect capital markets.

Winterkorn was Volkswagen's CEO when the scandal broke and resigned soon after. He has since claimed that he wasn't informed of diesel emission manipulation measures any earlier than Volkswagen has officially admitted.

However, documents from a meeting attended by Diess, tsch and Winterkorn on 27 July 2015 are alleged to prove the three discussed when to inform US authorities about the diesel emissions test manipulation measures well ahead of an official announcement made by Volkswagen on 22 September 2015. Volkswagen’s share price lost up to 37% of its value in the week the scandal went public.

tsch was the firm’s chief financial officer before becoming chairman of the supervisory board in 2015.

Legal proceedings are already underway in connection to Volkswagen’s admission in 2015 to developing and using illegal engine control software to alter the outcome of diesel emissions tests.

Volkswagen is estimated to have spent around £26 billion on fines, settlements and other expenses related to Dieselgate so far, with several court cases relating to the scandal still ongoing. 

In April, Braunschweig prosecutors charged Winterkorn and three other Volkswagen managers with defrauding customers by selling cars fitted with defeat devices.

In a statement, VW board member responsible for integrity and legal afffairs Hiltrud Dorothea Werner said “Today, the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office informed Volkswagen AG of the charges against the company and individual defendants in proceedings under the Securities Trading Act. The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years.The result is clear: the allegations are groundless.

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"Volkswagen AG therefore remains confident that it has fulfilled all its reporting obligations under capital markets law. If there is a trial, we are confident that the allegations will prove to be unfounded. Furthermore, the presumption of innocence applies until proven otherwise.”

Additional reporting by Greg Kable


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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jason_recliner 25 September 2019

Unbelievable, except it's not

That's a hell of an organisation they're running over there.

fadyady 24 September 2019


There is a surprise!
xxxx 24 September 2019

At the end of the day

People still holiday in America, buy fuel derived from Saudi Arabia, they watched the Russian World Cup post Ukraine invasion, still eat beef from Brazil, buy IPhones made in China etc.

I actually blame the goverment for not punishing VAG like the US, Germany and France have done, would've paid for several Hospitals so as to treat diesel fume affected lungs!

Would still love a Porsche Cayman but will sleep easy knowing I'll avoid diesels wih even more vime.