Germany's Volkswagen Group said on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with former senior executives over an exhaust fraud scandal. Under the agreement, it will receive compensation of almost 288 million euros (7.3 billion CZK). The agreement must be approved by the annual general meeting of shareholders in July. The Berlin prosecutor's office, in connection with the case, accused the former head of the concern, Martin Winterkorn, of perjury.
The majority of the compensation, namely EUR 270 million, will be obtained by the group from the liability insurance of directors and officials. In addition, Winterkorn will pay € 11.2 million, former Audi chief Rupert Stadler € 4.1 million, former Audi head of technical development Stefan Knirsch € 1 million, and former Porsche board member Wolfgang Hatz € 1.5 million.
Volkswagen said in March that it would demand damages from Winterkorn and Stadler. After an extensive investigation, the company came to the conclusion that both top managers neglected the care of a proper manager.
The diesel affair erupted in September 2015. Volkswagen then admitted in response to allegations by US authorities that it had installed software to manipulate the tests in about 11 million diesel cars worldwide.
Winterkorn said before the German parliament that he was unaware of the manipulation of the exhaust tests before the outbreak. The prosecutor's office claims the opposite. "The defendant falsely claimed in his statement that he was not informed about the disconnection devices until September 2015, the Berlin prosecutor's office said in a statement. "According to the indictment, he was aware from May 2015 that the engine control software of some Volkswagen vehicles was equipped with a function that manipulated the exhaust gas values during testing, the prosecutor's office added.
According to Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, a disconnecting device means a vehicle component that reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system. The regulation also bans such devices.
Winterkorn resigned as head of the company on September 23, a week after the scandal broke out. However, he denies responsibility for it. Dieselgate has so far cost the carmaker 32 billion euros (812.4 billion CZK). The money was used, for example, to convene and modify cars, to compensate customers, and for various fines.