German regulator seeks Volkswagen fraud investigation

Claim VW could have disclosed potential damage from emissions cheating earlier

VW revealed last September that it had used software- based “defeat devices” in up to 11 million of its diesel vehicles, which served to understate emissions of hazardous nitrogen oxides in official laboratory tests. Photograph:  Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

VW revealed last September that it had used software- based “defeat devices” in up to 11 million of its diesel vehicles, which served to understate emissions of hazardous nitrogen oxides in official laboratory tests. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

 

Germany’s financial regulator has called on prosecutors to investigate the entire former management board of Volkswagen on suspicion of possible market manipulation.

The move comes with VW facing a wave of accusations from investors that it took too long to disclose to the markets that diesel vehicles had been equipped to cheat in emissions tests.

VW revealed last September that it had used software- based “defeat devices” in up to 11 million of its diesel vehicles, which served to understate emissions of hazardous nitrogen oxides in official laboratory tests.

But on Monday, prosecutors said there was evidence to suggest that VW could have disclosed the potential damage arising from the emissions cheating earlier. On that basis, they said they had launched an investigation into Martin Winterkorn, VW’s former boss, and an unidentified second executive, into whether they had manipulated markets by delaying the release of information about the company’s deception.

On Tuesday, it emerged that BaFin, Germany’s financial watchdog, had called on the prosecutors to investigate the former management board.

A person with knowledge of the matter said BaFin believed it should be investigated whether the board should be held collectively responsible for how the cheating was communicated to markets. BaFin and VW declined to comment.

– (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016)