No formal inquiry against VW ex-CEO: Germany
Sweden may send VW tax bill for pollution
German prosecutors said Thursday that they had not launched a formal inquiry against Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of auto giant Volkswagen, contrary to what they originally stated this week.
An official press statement released on Monday by public prosecutors in Brunswick was “formulated incorrectly,” a spokesman told AFP.
No specific individuals are targeted so far in the prosecutors’ investigation into the massive pollution-cheating scandal. Complaints had been filed by private individuals against Winterkorn, but only initial suspicions were being probed and there was no formal inquiry as yet, the spokesman explained.
The original statement on the prosecutors’ website had been amended to say that “in connection with the allegations of emission manipulation in diesel
Sweden may send a tax bill to German automaker Volkswagen for undeclared pollution of its diesel vehicles after it admitted fitting some 11 million with pollution-cheating devices, the finance minister said Thursday.
Cars sold in the Nordic country have a tax assessed depending on the amount of pollution they emit.
“If it is proved that the emissions were higher than they said then it is possible that certain cars were taxed too little,” Finance vehicles of the VW brand ... prosecutors are examining whether to launch an inquiry against those employees responsible at Volkswagen AG.”
But the statement no longer named Winterkorn directly.
The prosecutors’ office subsequently issued an apology for any Minister Magdalena Andersson said on SR public radio.
She said Volkswagen has been asked for information to help calculate how much the Swedish state may have lost in tax revenue.
Volkswagen said earlier this week it had sold 225,000 vehicles in Sweden fitted with devices that switch on pollution controls when they detect the car is undergoing testing and then switch off the controls when the car is on the road, allowing it to spew out “confusion” the error had caused.
The misunderstanding had arisen because a case dossier must be opened whenever a complaint is filed against an individual. But the case dossier does not differentiate between a preliminary probe and a formal inquiry, where there are concrete grounds to believe the harmful levels of emissions.
Volkswagen Sweden’s chief executive, Claes Jerveland, told the TT news agency that the company would look into the matter, noting that so far concerns had been about the motors emitting higher levels of nitrogen oxides rather than carbon dioxide, upon which the Swedish tax is based.
The tax is paid by car buyers, so the Swedish tax authority may have some legal hurdles to clear before sending any bill to Volkswagen. initial suspicions, the prosecutors explained. “No such inquiry has been opened against Winterkorn,” they insisted.
Winterkorn, 68, resigned last week, taking responsibility for the scandal as CEO, but still insisting that he personally knew nothing about the deception.