(From The Washington Examiner)
A federal grand jury has charged former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn with wire fraud in what prosecutors say was a long-running scheme to cheat diesel-emission standards for U.S. vehicles.
Winterkorn, 70, and other senior executives of the German carmaker conspired for about nine years to mislead investors and U.S. consumers about the ability of its “clean diesel” vehicles to comply with the country’s rules, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Michigan. Winterkorn, who stepped down from the top job shortly after the federal investigation began, also faces three counts of wire fraud in a scandal that has weighed on the company’s U.S. stock for more than two years.
“If you try to deceive the United States, then you will pay a heavy price,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an appointee of President Trump, said in a statement. “The indictment unsealed today alleges that Volkswagen’s scheme to cheat its legal requirements went all the way to the top of the company. These are serious allegations, and we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.”