SEC alleges Volkswagen ‘perpetrated a massive fraud’ and repeatedly lied to US investors

via CNBC:

  • The SEC is charging Volkswagen and former CEO Martin Winterkorn with defrauding American investors during an emissions scandal.
  • The commission said that between April 2014 and May 2015 Volkswagen issued more than $13 billion in bonds and asset-backed securities in U.S. markets when senior executives knew that more than 500,000 vehicles in the country grossly exceeded legal vehicle emissions limits.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is charging Volkswagen and former CEO Martin Winterkorn with defrauding American investors during an emissions scandal, The Associated Press reported Friday.

The complaint claims Volkswagen made false and misleading statements to investors and underwriters about vehicle quality, environmental compliance and the company’s financial standing, which gave Volkswagen a financial benefit when it issued securities at more attractive rates for the company.

Volkswagen did not immediately respond to The Associated Press early Friday.

On Thursday, the SEC alleged in a court filing that Volkswagen “perpetrated a massive fraud” and repeatedly lied to U.S. investors in connection with the so-called dieselgate scandal.

The regulator is suing Volkswagen and Winterkorn over the Germanautomaker’s diesel emissions scandal. The suit seeks to bar Winterkorn from serving as an officer or director of a public U.S. company and recover “ill-gotten gains.” Winterkorn was charged by U.S. prosecutors in 2018 and accused of conspiring to cover up the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating.

The SEC said in its complaint filed in San Francisco that from April 2014 to May 2015, Volkswagen issued more than $13 billion in bonds and asset-backed securities in U.S. markets at a time when senior executives knew that more than 500,000 U.S. diesel vehicles grossly exceeded legal vehicle emissions limits.

 

“By concealing the emissions scheme, Volkswagen reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in benefit by issuing the securities at more attractive rates for the company,” the SEC said in a summary of its filing.

Volkswagen said the SEC complaint “is legally and factually flawed.” Reuters reported that a lawyer for Winterkorn could not immediately be reached early Friday.

VW had said in its annual report that the SEC could take enforcement action against the company over the German automaker’s involvement in the emissions scandal.

The automaker said the agency is “piling on” and that the agency’s complaint is without merit.

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