Volkswagen today announced that it would seek damages from its former chairman Professor Marin Winterkorn, as well as former Audi chair Rupert Stadler, over its diesel emissions scandal.
The crisis, which exploded when the firm admitted in 2015 it had rigged emissions tests in the US, has cost the car giant €32bn (£27.4bn) in fines and refunds so far.
In a statement, Volkswagen’s board accused the two of breaching their duty of care. But it said that no other board members were responsible.
“Based on the outcome of [an] investigation, the Supervisory Board has concluded that Winterkorn breached his duties of care as former Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG by failing, in the period from 27 July 2015 on, to comprehensively and promptly clarify the circumstances behind the use of unlawful software functions in 2.0l TDI diesel engines sold in the North American market between 2009 and 2015”, it said in a statement.
“Winterkorn also failed to ensure that the questions asked by the US authorities in this context were answered truthfully, completely and without delay.
“The Supervisory Board also concluded that Rupert Stadler breached his duties of care by failing, in the period from 21 September 2016 on, to ensure that 3.0l and 4.2l V-TDI diesel engines developed by Audi and installed in EU vehicles of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche were investigated with regard to unlawful software functions”, it added.
Both men have previously denied being responsible for the scandal. In a statement issued today, Winterkorn’s lawyers said:
“Professor Winterkorn is aware that the supervisory board is obliged to assess potential claims and to possibly assert them. He will therefore seek to clarify those questions in consultation with Volkswagen.”
The scandal has unleashed a string of copycat claims against other carmakers.