Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Volkswagen – accusation: Criminal intent – Süddeutsche.de

Only the damages, the chastisement: VW must be set in the US on another billion payment and could even get a minder – as Siemens after the bribery affair.

From Kathrin Werner and Klaus Ott , New York / Munich

it is Less than three more months until the US presidential election, pending the outcome between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Anyone have previously important things will have decided, therefore, has to hurry. This also applies for Volkswagen: The German carmaker strives how insiders report, just intense efforts to clean up the exhaust affair in good time before the change of power in the White House financially. Emissaries from VW are currently negotiating with the Justice Department in Washington about a possible penalty in the amount of more than 1.2 billion dollars and possible obligations after the ministry had discovered “evidence of criminal wrongdoing”.

This penalty would be those $ 15.3 billion added that are already overdue for the repurchase of diesel vehicles, damages and compensation. VW had to be closed in June before a civil court in San Francisco a comparison.

The support for VW could consist in the fact that when the car company, a watchdog is used. This would check for the US authorities, whether VW complies with all agreements and laws. So an overseer had to accept Siemens after the bribery scandal years ago. The job took over former Finance Minister Theo Waigel. Even Daimler had bribed the world and therefore also are prescribed by the US authorities an inspector. That had been the former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Now VW might come off.

Volkswagen is keen to details of consolidated groups and from the ranks of major shareholders because to agree before the US election with the authorities. We did not know so, “what happened after the election”. After that, everything could be different. Speedy Deals “were mutually beneficial” for the US authorities, according to the VW-circles. However, should the “price-performance ratio” vote, it is argued in the ranks of major shareholders.

VW said they were working closely with the US authorities including the Ministry of Justice together. “We continue to find a solution in talks with the aim of remaining open questions.” should be simple not. The investigators of the US Department of Justice believe that they have found enough evidence of “criminal behavior” by VW. Group employees have committed offenses. The penalty for Volkswagen in the US could be larger than Toyota, where more than 1.2 billion dollars was paid, reports Wall Street Journal .

The Japanese carmaker had this must pay the sum in 2014 because of security problems by clamping accelerators. It was the highest ever fine that was imposed on a carmaker in the US in the course of criminal investigations. She was also so high because the Justice Department accused Toyota lack of willingness to cooperate. The company has led the people astray and the danger downplayed. When comparing it comes in such cases in the United States strongly depends on how high the criminal activity in the company in question.

If you believe managers of Toyota or VW, then plays beside a role that their concerns are not from the US. The American investigators would have particularly apart on foreign companies and would thus indirectly promote their domestic producers. For the case General Motors speaks (GM). The US company had covered up for years defective ignition switches. More than 100 people died in accidents. Nevertheless, the Opel-mother came quite moderate when compared with the US authorities 900 million fine it. That was because that GM chief Mary Barra had taken the blame, consequences announced, giving the impression to play with open cards. The Justice Department called the cooperation of General Motors with the authorities ‘exemplary’. It is unclear, of course, whether in the criminal level, the fact played a role in that it is the largest automaker in the United States in GM.

According to a study by the University of Virginia are foreign companies in the US for missteps punished more severely than domestic firms. In the more than 1000 cases examined in the years 2001 to 2010 foreign corporations would on average have to pay $ 35 million American companies but only 4.7 million dollars. However, according to the authors, the result is distorted because US authorities determined from other states only in serious crimes against corporations. In this respect it is the penance fall even higher.

A US investigators accused Volkswagen of a “culture of deception”

In the case of VW US investigators had repeatedly criticized, have managers of the group tried withhold information and outwit the authorities. The attorneys general of the states of New York and Connecticut complained in January that Volkswagen refuse the issuance of e-mails and other documents. “Our patience with Volkswagen is soon at the end”, said at the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. VW look like a group that does not want to admit the reality. Schneiderman spoke of a “culture of deception”.

The cooperation has since improved, but should the criticism be included in the penal sum. It is still unclear whether the US Department of Justice intends to proceed except against the group and against individual employees and managers. The investigations were directed against “several people”, said Vice-Attorney General Sally Yates in June. The Land Niedersachsen confirmed on Tuesday that you can not sue for damages VW. It was a “long-term oriented core shareholder” in a different situation than other investors who now take action against VW.


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