BERLIN — Germany’s financial watchdog said on Friday it was investigating whether Volkswagen illegally disclosed information about its emissions scandal to third parties, adding to the carmaker’s legal headaches more than two years after the scandal broke.
Europe’s largest automaker is already the subject of a probe by the BaFin watchdog over suspected insider trading related to its “Dieselgate” scandal, and an investigation by Braunschweig prosecutors over suspected market manipulation.
Earlier this week, a German court also ruled an independent auditor should be appointed to investigate Volkswagen’s cheating of US diesel engine tests, boosting investors’ hopes for compensation.
On Friday, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Volkswagen’s chief executive officer at the time, Martin Winterkorn, informed then-Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt and the head of Germany’s KBA motor vehicle watchdog on September 21, 2015, about the extent of the carmaker’s cheating.
But VW did not make public until September 22, 2015, that about 11 million cars worldwide were fitted with emissions-cheating software and that it would set aside billions of euros to cover the potential cost of the
“We are looking at this process with a view to a potentially unauthorised disclosure of inside information,” a spokesperson for BaFin said, confirming the Der Spiegel report.
VW declined to comment on the latest BaFin investigation, but reiterated its view that its management board “duly fulfilled” its obligations regarding capital market disclosure rules.
The Transport ministry couldn’t be reached for comment.