Dusseldorf They were half sentences, half homilies. When Volkswagen AG’s lawyers opened their letter in the third year of the diesel case, they had to breathe a sigh of relief. The group lied to its customers, according to the Nuremberg district court. “Volkswagen’s profit to strive for a price to deceive consumers and the authorities is considered to be reprehensible,” said Düsseldorf. The Stuttgart judge criticized Volkswagen for violating “the sense of decency of all those who think cheaply and fairly”.
Volkswagen, which was once the pride of the German car industry, had entered the eyes of the judges. The diesel cars of the group were defective, its management was not ethically and legally responsible, it was the basis of many judgments. Volkswagen protested that the judgments were considered incorrect and that corrections were expected. Then it was better to focus on comparison.
In this edition of Handelsblatt Crime, our reporters report how the biggest scandal in the German car industry became the biggest comparison in German legal history. More than a quarter of a million customers joined a so-called model advertising lawsuit to force Volkswagen to correct a major fraud: selling millions of cars that were supposed to be green when in fact they were polluting.
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It cost more than 800 million euros. In addition, higher bills are still pending. The investor process continues in Braunschweig. In addition to the example of the claimant Deka Investment, other investors from various institutions are involved. Their needs: around ten billion euros. A judge must decide whether Volkswagen informed investors in time about the scandal surrounding millions of damaged diesel engines. There is much to suggest that this did not happen.
If there was one person who could guarantee that, it’s him: Martin Winterkorn. The powerful boss of Volkswagen for many years, highly praised and highly paid. In the podcast, we trace his path from humble beginnings to the top of the world’s largest automaker. And his case. In the eye of the storm, Winterkorn suddenly no longer wanted to be what he had always been: omniscient, omnipresent, involved in everything. Now he has to represent this thesis in the dock.
Handelsblatt Crime appears every 14 days and can be heard wherever there is a podcast.
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More: You can hear the last episode of Handelsblatt Crime here.