Former Volkswagen CEO under investigation for alleged securities violations in connection with Dieselgate emissions cheating disclosures

by Charles Miller

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and another undisclosed VW executive are being investigated in Germany over potential securities fraud, German prosecutors announced recently. Winterkorn resigned from Volkswagen in September 2015. This resignation came several days after the automaker admitted that it had installed emissions defeat devices on millions of VW and Audi diesel models.

Prosecutors say that Winterkorn may have waited too long to disclose that Volkswagen was under investigation by U.S. authorities over allegations of emissions cheating in connection with the Dieselgate scandal. Since Volkswagen’s emissions cheating was made public, VW executives have denied that they had any knowledge of problems with the VW and Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” models. These executives have repeatedly stated that the decisions that led to the emissions cheating were made exclusively by middle managers at the company. However, these claims could be undermined by the investigation of Winterkorn and the other VW executive.

At the time of his resignation in September 2015, Winterkorn stated that he had only learned about the emissions cheating at VW a few days before, when news of the Dieselgate scandal was made public. Volkswagen, however, began receiving questions about suspicious emissions data from its diesel-powered vehicles from the EPA in 2014. Mr. Winterkorn and other Volkswagen executives were made aware of emissions cheating with VW and Audi diesel models around that time, court documents, internal memos, and emails from the company have suggested.

Several investors have filed lawsuits against Volkswagen accusing the company of violating securities disclosure laws. News of the German investigation of Winterkorn for possible securities violations comes just one week before the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Volkswagen is also facing numerous lawsuits filed by drivers who purchased or leased one of the recalled VW and Audi diesel models. These lawsuits have accused Volkswagen of deliberately misleading consumers about the performance and fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Many of these vehicles have lost value since news of the Dieselgate scandal was made public.

The allegations against Volkswagen by shareholders and vehicle owners have caused both the automaker’s profits and share price to decline. Last year, Volkswagen posted its first loss since 1993. Shares of the company’s stock have declined by 20% since news of the Dieselgate scandal was made public.

VW and Audi Emissions Cheating Lawsuit Against Volkswagen

Consumers who purchased or leased a Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche model involved in the diesel emissions cheating scandal may be eligible to file a lawsuit against VW. The first step in taking legal action is to talk with a law firm with extensive knowledge and experience in handling commercial and product liability litigation. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process of filing a case.

The vehicles involved in the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal include the 2009-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A8, the 2016 Audi A8L, the 2016 Audi Q5, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI, and the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg.

If you purchased or leased one of the VW or Audi diesel-powered vehicles involved in the Dieselgate scandal, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation about your case, please contact us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.


Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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by Charles Miller

Charles Miller is a licensed attorney and a partner at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Charles focuses his practice on areas of complex commercial litigation and personal injury litigation.