Volkswagen Dieselgate-Era CEO Winterkorn Formally Charged in the U.S.

Martin Winterkorn now faces multiple criminal charges stemming from the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal.

byJustin Hughes|
Volkswagen News photo

An indictment against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was unsealed Thursday revealing that he has been criminally charged for his alleged part in the Dieselgate emission test cheating scandal.

Winterkorn was officially charged on March 14, the same day as Volkswagen's annual shareholder meeting. The charges include wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud Volkswagen's American customers, and violating the Clean Air Act.

According to the indictment, Winterkorn was allegedly made aware that Volkswagen was cheating diesel emission tests in May 2014, and again in July 2015. Winterkorn and other senior executives allegedly decided to continue the practice after they were made aware of it. Winterkorn has previously denied knowing about it since resigning from Volkswagen in September 2015.

Volkswagen pled guilty last year to charges against the company of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit fraud. Winterkorn is the ninth person at Volkswagen to be individually charged by the U.S. government in connection with emissions cheating. Oliver Schmidt, who headed VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to early 2015, pleaded guilty to his part in the scandal in December.

Volkswagen has said it "continues to cooperate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals. It would not be appropriate to comment on individual cases."