Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner are no more expected to testify in a trial brought against the automaker’s main shareholder Porsche SE by investors, according to a judge.
Majority of the two dozen witnesses called in the case have invoked their right to reject to provide evidence, Judge Fabian Richter Reuschle stated in the opening of the trial in a regional court located in Stuttgart.
“We have to accept that we cannot force them to incriminate themselves,” Richter Reuschle stated, adding the trial dates set aside for witness testimony through mid-November are no longer there.
Shareholders represented by law firm TILP are looking compensation from Porsche SE, accusing the company did not inform markets fast enough about the scale of potential liabilities the automaker faced over its use of illegal software to cheat U.S. emissions tests, revealed in September 2015.
The start of proceedings in Stuttgart comes two days after a different investor suit launched in the northern German city of Braunschweig, where the plaintiffs are seeking billions of euros in damages from Volkswagen itself along with those from Porsche SE.
Volkswagen has confessed cheating diesel emissions tests, but rejects it failed to inform investors in a timely fashion. Bosch provided key parts for VW’s diesel engines, but states the integration of them was the responsibility of the manufacturer.
Had investors known the automaker’s illegal activities in rigging emissions tests, they might have sold shares previously or not made purchases, thereby preventing losses on their holdings, the plaintiffs argue.
Volkswagen shares lost up to 37 percent of their cost in the days after authorities revealed illegal levels of pollution emitted from VW diesel cars.