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VW former CEO to pay millions of euros in compensation over emissions scandal

Volkswagen former chief executive Martin Winterkorn will pay 11.2 million euros to compensate the company for his role in the diesel emissions scandal, it has been reported.

Posted on 11 June 2021

In a statement, the German motor manufacturing giant said Mr Winterkorn “breached his duties of care” as chief executive, based on a major investigation by a law firm commissioned by the company.

Since 2015, Volkswagen has been dealing with allegations that an emissions ‘cheat device’ was used on a number of their diesel vehicles.

Leigh Day is one of the lead law firms in the first UK legal action against Volkswagen on behalf of thousands of drivers affected by the diesel emissions scandal. Leigh Day is also investigating a second claim against the Volkswagen group, as well as similar potential claims against Renault, Jaguar, Mercedes, Peugeot, BMW, Land Rover, Mini, Volvo, Citroen, Ford, Nissan and Vauxhall.

Mr Winterkorn, who has denied any wrongdoing, was Volkswagen’s CEO from 2007-2015. He resigned after the emissions scandal came to light in 2015 when the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation following a study from the West Virginia University’s Centre for Alternative Fuels, Engines & Emissions. It said Volkswagen was using software that let the cars pass emissions tests but turned off air pollution controls during real-world driving.

The VW investigation found that from 27 July 2015, Mr Winterkorn failed “to comprehensively and promptly clarify the circumstance behind the use of unlawful software functions” in 2.0-litre diesel engines sold in the US from 2009 to 2015.

It said Mr Winterkorn also failed to ensure that the company answered questions from US regulators “truthfully, completely and without delay”.

Along with the announcement about Mr Winterkorn’s payment, Volkswagen said it would be receiving 270 million euros from liability insurance against loss from the actions of directors and officers, reports Associated Press.

In the fallout from the scandal, Volkswagen has apologised and to date has paid more than 31 billion euros in fines, recall costs and compensation to car owners.

Settlements have also been reached with other former VW executives, it is reported.
Rupert Stadler, former head of the Audi luxury car division, will pay 4.1 million euros, former Audi executive Stefan Knirsch one million euros and former Porsche executive Wolfgang Hatz 1.5 million euros.

Leigh Day partner Shazia Yamin is leading a claim against VW on behalf of UK drivers. She said:

“Given Volkswagen’s continued denial that our clients have sustained any losses as a result of the emissions scandal and are refusing to compensate them, it seems rather ironic, and very hypocritical, for the Volkswagen Group to be receiving compensation as a result of it. We hope that they will be passing on the compensation they have received to their affected customers.”

Diesel emissions claims

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Shazia Yamin
Emissions claims

Shazia Yamin

Shazia is a consumer law lawyer with expertise in group claims