German prosecutors indict top VW bosses over emissions scandal

FILE PHOTO: Hans Dieter Poetsch, Chairman of the Volkswagen's supervisory board, speaks during the Volkswagen Group's annual general meeting in Berlin, Germany, May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt
FILE PHOTO: Herbert Diess, CEO of the German carmaker Volkswagen AG gestures in front of an ID.3 pre-production prototype electrical car during a preview of the world's biggest automaker at the eve of the international Frankfurt Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
FILE PHOTO: Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn leaves after testifying to a German parliamentary committee on the carmaker's emissions scandal in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German prosecutors have brought criminal charges of stock market manipulation against Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess, former CEO Martin Winterkorn and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch in connection with the carmaker's emissions cheating scandal.

The accused intentionally failed to inform investors in time about the financial impact of the scandal, the prosecutors' office in the northern city of Braunschweig said on Tuesday.

Court proceedings are underway over the company's admission in 2015 to using illegal engine control software to rig diesel emissions tests. The Braunschweig prosecutors' indictment is part of a separate legal push to try managers over allegations they delayed disclosing the scandal to investors.

Diess' lawyer said in a statement that the CEO could not have foreseen the financial market fallout and that he would continue unhindered in his role as CEO.

Winterkorn resigned in the days after the scandal broke. He told German lawmakers in early 2017 that he did not find out about the cheating any earlier than VW had officially admitted.

VW shares lost up to 37 percent in value in the days after the scandal broke.

Had investors known about VW's cheating, they might have sold shares earlier or not made purchases, plaintiffs have argued.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Mark Potter)

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