German court opens criminal proceeedings against former VW CEO

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn arrives to testify at parliamentary committee on the carmaker’s emissions scandal in Berlin

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A court in Braunschweig, Germany on Thursday said it had opened proceedings against former Volkswagen (DE:) Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn examining whether he is guilty of market manipulation as part of an emissions scandal.

Winterkorn and other Volkswagen executives face charges for their role in allowing diesel cars with excessive pollution levels to hit the road, and for failing to inform investors about the extend of the emissions fraud.

The carmaker has paid out more than 30 billion euros in fines and penalties for emissions cheating, which was uncovered by U.S. authorities in September 2015.

The court is examining whether Volkswagen had a duty to inform investors earlier about the extent of potential fines. Volkswagen for its part has said the extent of the fines were not forseeable.

A lawyer for Winterkorn could not immediately be reached for comment but has previously denied the charges.

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