12/10/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

VW Denies Chairman Should Have Reported Diesel Cheating Earlier

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Volkswagen AG denies that Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch should have told investors about the company’s diesel emission cheating three months before the fact became public.

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Volkswagen AG denies that Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch should have told investors about the company’s diesel emission cheating three months before the fact became public.

This issue has been raised by a lawsuit in Germany that claims VW failed to alert its investors promptly about the potential liability involved. The company has since agreed to pay more than €27 billion ($31 billion) in fines and restitution.

Germany’s Bild am Sonntag reports that the liability was described as a potential €35 billion ($40 billion) risk in a confidential legal department briefing on June 24, 2015.

Poetsch received a copy of the presentation five days later, according to a VW lawyer identified as “witness P.” The cheating was revealed by U.S. regulators in mid-September. VW claims the witness’s account is “inaccurate.”

VW acknowledges in a statement that the diesel cheating came up in several discussions with Poetsch that summer. But it says it hoped to resolve the problem in the U.S. and therefore didn’t feel it was appropriate to comment ahead of a possible settlement. Those hopes vanished when U.S. regulators revealed the cheating publicly.

The carmaker says none of the internal discussions that summer involved the “content and quality which could have made capital markets law relevant for Mr. Poetsch.”