Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn

Criminal proceedings against former Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn

A court in Braunschweig, Germany, said on Thursday it had started proceedings against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, examining whether he is guilty of market manipulation as part of the automaker’s emissions scandal.

Winterkorn and other Volkswagen executives face charges for their participation in enabling diesel cars with excessive pollution levels to hit the road, and for allegedly failing to reveal investors adequately about the extent of the emissions scandal.

The automaker has paid more than 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in fines and penalties for cheating emissions tests worldwide. The scandal was uncovered by U.S. authorities in September 2015.

The court is examining whether the automaker had a duty to inform investors earlier about the size of potential fines. The automaker has said the level of the fines was not foreseeable.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the automaker reiterated the company had fulfilled all disclosure requirements associated with the diesel scandal.

Felix Doerr, a lawyer for Winterkorn, said his client declines the allegations that he failed in his duty to tell markets in a timely fashion.

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