Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller is being probed by investigators on market manipulation charges, prosecutors in Stuttgart have confirmed. It's the latest fallout from the firm's dieselgate scandal.
Prosecutors in the southern German city of Stuttgart confirmed Wednesday that they'd launched a probe into Volkswagen chief Matthias Müller.
They said investigators needed to find out whether initial indications were true that he informed shareholders too late about the company's large-scale emissions-cheating scandal, which had a tremendous negative impact on VW's share price.
Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, brand chief Herbert Diess and supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Pötsch have been in the crosshairs of prosecutors for many months now, but the probe into Müller was only launched earlier this year, prosecutors in Stuttgart said, adding that they had acted on a complaint by Germany's financial watchdog BaFin.
The 'diesel issue' not over
The probe into the company's current chief executive is focusing on what Müller did or did not do when he was head of the Porsche Holding company, VW's main shareholder. Müller stands accused of not informing shareholders about what he may have known and when with regard to the firm's pollution scandal that broke in the fall of 2015.
US authorities had disclosed that VW had been manipulating emissions tests in the lab, with a total of 11 million cars affected globally. When the news broke, VW's share price plummeted immediately and the stock lost a lot more of its value in the following months.
There was no ad-hoc note from VW before the scandal broke, leaving shareholders and investigators wondering whether or not top executives withheld important information at the time.
hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)