The German government is committed to implementing tougher sanctions against companies that involved in criminal behavior, following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, the nation’s justice minister, Katarina Barley, said.
In an interview released in Friday’s edition of the Handelsblatt newspaper, Katarina Barley stated she had seen a pattern whereby companies try to put blame on individual managers for any misbehavior.
“This was very blatant in the diesel scandal, in several companies,” she added, without mentioning any names of the companies.
Barley said individuals will in future still account for any crimes they commit.
“But if there is a visible structure in a company that fosters and covers up criminal behavior, there should be penalties for companies in the future,” she stated.
A coalition agreement between Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their centre-left SPD partners agreed in March and plans to make sure that companies that profit from the wrongdoing of staff members would face tougher sanctions.
The agreement stated that the highest penalty for companies generating over 100 million euros in yearly revenues should be increased to 10 percent of annual sales, up from a cap of 10 million euros earlier.
While it is unlikely that all strategies in the coalition agreement will be implemented, Barley’s comments tell that the proposal on company sanctions could become law.