The United States has charged former Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn with conspiring to cover up the carmaker’s emissions scandal, Reuters reported. The Department of Justice disclosed the criminal charges on Thursday, over a month after they were filed in court.
The 70-year-old was charged with four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the US and for violating the Clean Air Act for nearly 10 years. However, the indictment is largely symbolic as Winterkorn, a German citizen, is “almost certain” not to come to the US, according to Reuters.
“If you try to deceive the United States, then you will pay a heavy price,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Winterkorn had resigned within a week of the scandal coming to light in September 2015, when Volkswagen was forced to admit that it had installed emission-cheating software in 11 million diesel engines worldwide. The software helped reduce emissions under test conditions only.
Winterkorn had denied personal wrongdoing.
Volkswagen had settled criminal charges with the US Justice Department in 2017 and agreed to a $4.3 billion payment.