Volkswagen investors have formally filed lawsuits seeking a total of €8.2bn for losses stemming from the company’s emissions-cheating scandal.
About 1,400 lawsuits are currently pending at the Braunschweig Regional Court, the district handling legal matters for the region where Volkswagen is based, the tribunal said yesterday. Investors are alleging they suffered damages because the company was slow in disclosing the issue.
Volkswagen has rejected the allegations.
Investors have lined up to sue in Germany, where VW shares lost more than a third of their value in the first two trading days after the September 18 disclosure of the emissions scandal by US regulators.
Monday was the first business day after the anniversary of the scandal and investors had feared they needed to sue within a year of the company’s admission it had equipped about 11 million diesel vehicles with software to cheat on pollution tests.
The amount is slightly less than the €10.7bn that had been expected based on lawyers statements last week, but more suits could still trickle in because of uncertainty about when the deadline expires. The court may need about four weeks to register all the complaints, according to the release.
The US Government, which uncovered the cheating, is also among the investors suing and seeking €30m.
Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, has repeatedly said it had informed markets in a timely manner based on the information available.
Earlier this week, it was reported Audi chief Rupert Stadler risks being pulled into the emissions crisis that’s engulfed his marque’s parent company for the last year.
A report by Der Spiegel said witnesses inside the company alleged the executive had known about the engine manipulation since 2010.
Mr Stadler, who is also a member of the VW group’s board, will be questioned by Jones Day, the law firm hired by the carmaker to help investigate what happened, the German magazine reported.
Audi — VW’s biggest profit contributor — has already been linked to the scandal, having produced 85,000 3.0-litre engines US authorities faulted for non-compliance with diesel emissions.
Volkswagen has also announced its heavy-truck unit will continue to expand its global presence after striking a deal to buy a stake in US peer Navistar International, as the European manufacturer readies for technological change including rollouts of all-electric vehicles.
A robust presence in each of the world’s main regions is key to balancing cyclical swings in demand, Andreas Renschler, head of the Volkswagen Truck & Bus division, said.
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