Former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn will not appear for now at the massive “Dieselgate” fraud trial at the Braunschweig Stadthalle – that’s the finale. A spokesman for the district court of the German Press Agency announced that the separate cases against the former CEO could only be conducted separately. According to him, it is impossible to return the complex in the current process. So it is not clear when the negotiations against Winterkorn will start.
In Braunschweig city hall, four other former executives accused in this case have been sentenced for a year now. Among other things, they are accused of commercial fraud and gangs and fraudulent schemes in the control of the exhaust gas of millions of diesel vehicles. Because of the medical report, the complex was separated from the 75-year-old Winterkorn in the beginning.
In September 2021, the absence of the former CEO dominated the first days of the trial. The court’s actions were openly criticized by the lawyers for the other defendants as well as the public prosecutor’s office. “The message of sitting here without Mr. Winterkorn is a disaster,” the lawyer said at the time. “Taking responsibility for your actions looks different,” a colleague commented.
Winterkorn resigned when the diesel scandal was revealed in autumn 2015. However, he maintained that he knew nothing about the illegal activities before the manipulations became known. In his farewell message, he announced that “everything will be put on the table – quickly, openly and as transparently as possible”. He later asked the Bundestag’s investigative committee: “How could something like this happen?” The fraud cost VW more than 30 billion euros. It is considered one of the biggest industrial scandals in German history.
However, even after more than 40 days of negotiations, no progress can be seen in the Braunschweig process. Many applications and corona-related errors caused repeated interruptions. It is also difficult that most of the witnesses who are considered to be in authority have recently exercised their right to remain silent. For a long time there was only second-hand information, as only a few prosecutors reported from their interviews of witnesses. The case continued on Thursday with the questioning of the development engineer, which lasted for several days.