In the latest development of the Dieselgate scandal, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn will stand trial in Germany for fraud, tax evasion and breaching competition laws.Winterkorn, who is already facing criminal trials in the US but cannot be extradited, was Volkswagen's CEO from 2007-2015. He resigned after the emission scandal first came to light in 2015 but he denies any wrongdoing.
Since 2015, Volkswagen have been battling to salvage their reputation after allegations that a 'cheat device' was used on a number of their diesel vehicles to mislead consumers and has led to over 800,000 customers seeking compensation from the German car giant.
This latest development suggests that the emission scandal is part of an institutional cover up - the extent of which has yet to be revealed. Many other car manufacturers are now under the spotlight over the use of cheat devices, these include Mercedes, BMW, Nissan and Renault.
Solicitor Shazia Yamin, who is spearheading group claims at Leigh Day against both Volkswagen and Mercedes, said:
"The decision of the German court to prosecute Mr Winterkorn illustrates the seriousness of the allegations of misconduct at the highest level within Volkswagen over the emissions cheating scandal.
"Despite Volkswagen settling claims in many other countries over these 'cheat devices' the claim we are bringing on behalf of Volkswagen vehicle owners in England and Wales is still being contested by the company; causing additional distress to their customers who bought their vehicles in good faith.
"As we learn more about the scandal and the allegations against the Volkswagen continue to mount, their continued refusal to compensates it UK customers is baffling.
"At a time when the shroud is being lifted on 'Dieselgate' and the details of the alleged fraud are coming to light, the priority should be on reparation. It's high time that VW acknowledge their wrong-doing and compensate their customers accordingly."
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