The Volkswagen Group has concluded a multi-year internal investigation into Dieselgate, and says it will seek compensation from former CEO Martin Winterkorn and former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler to offset some of the massive financial damage that resulted from the emissions trap scandal. .
The law firm Volkswagen hired to conduct the investigation covered more than 65 petabytes of data, including some 480 million documents. About 1.6 million of those files were “identified as relevant, examined and reviewed,” says the German automaker. The law firm also conducted 1,550 interviews and reviewed files of legal and tax processes around the world that occurred as a result of the company’s actions. The internal investigation was “by far the most comprehensive and complex investigation carried out at a company in German economic history,” Volkswagen writes.
Winterkorn resigned from running Volkswagen in September 2015, almost immediately after news of the scandal broke. He was later arrested in Germany and charged not only with knowing that the company’s diesel cars had software that misled regulators, but with sitting in the discovery of the cheating by the Environmental Protection Agency for a year. Winterkorn has also been charged in the United States, but it is unlikely that he will be extradited. He is still being tried in Germany.
Stadler was arrested in 2018 by German authorities, prompting Audi to delay the unveiling of its first fully electric car, the E-Tron. Stadler was later expelled from his position by Volkswagen.
Volkswagen said on Friday that it is also seeking damages from four other former board members: Ulrich Hackenberg and Stefan Knirsch (Audi), Wolfgang Hatz (Porsche) and Heinz-Jakob Neusser (Volkswagen), the last of whom has been criminally charged by the Department. of Justice.
The end of the investigation is something Volkswagen will no doubt aim to advance whenever Dieselgate is mentioned. The company has spent the past five years since the scandal broke out trying to distance itself from its deceptive and damaging actions and, at many points, has tried to blame individual actors. (The former CEO of his U.S. division once testified to Congress in 2015 that it was the work of “a couple of software engineers who [did it] for whatever reasons. “He resigned five months later).
At the very least, Volkswagen is now the largest legacy automaker making the most concerted push toward EVs, recently increasing its investment in the space to $ 86 billion.