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Former Volkswagen CEO charged with fraud in 'dieselgate'

Former Volkswagen CEO charged with fraud in 'dieselgate'

Winterkorn, 70, has been named as a co-conspirator along with five other men who were named in an earlier federal indictment along with Oliver Schmidt, a former Volkswagen executive.

The 70-year-old stepped down from the German carmaker in September 2015, following revelations that the company had been cheating on diesel engine emissions tests using software created to dupe regulators.

Federal prosecutors charged Winterkorn with wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the USA and violating the Clean Air Act. "These are serious allegations and we'll prosecute this case to the full extent of the law". Winterkorn resigned shortly after the scandal became public.

Winterkorn became the ninth person charged in connection with the emissions cheating scandal. VW as a company pleaded guilty in March 2017 to criminal charges related to the regulatory deception and agreed to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty.

A year and change after the vehicle maker pleaded guilty to obstructing investigations and importing cars under false pretenses, Volkswagen's former CEO Martin Winterkorn has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in a US court. Germany is unlikely to extradite one of its citizens in order to face trial in the US. Similar to Winterkorn, each of them is believed to be a German citizen and to reside in Germany. Eight other individuals have now been charged by USA authorities in the scandal. At the time, US regulators threatened to withhold authorization for Volkswagen to sell 2016 model year vehicles in the United States until the company explained the discrepancies raised by the ICCT study.

Winterkorn was among the first wave of executives ousted by VW Group as the emissions cheating debacle came to light late in 2015.

The US indictment of Winterkorn is likely to be largely symbolic.

The defeat devices consisted of software created to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard USA emissions testing on a dynamometer, altering emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide emissions during the tests. But, the indictment said, he continued to "perpetrate the fraud and deceive US regulators". That doesn't mean he will be safe from prosecution in Germany, though.