Diesel scandal: former VW boss charged

The public prosecutor in Braunschweig brought charges against the former VW boss Martin Winterkorn on Monday. She accuses him among other things of major fraud and doesn't believe that only the engineers were involved in the manipulation of diesel emission tests, as the car company claims. What can the trial against Winterkorn achieve?

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Car companies must prove their innnocence

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung hopes for a thorough investigation:

“For the car nation it is not only for mental health reasons that it's good for scandals to be dealt with in a legal process, but also to avoid the impression that big companies in strategic branches can get away with flagrant misconduct unpunished. In addition these processes give companies the chance to prove their innocence. The reduction of emission controls in order to spare the engine, for example in low temperatures, was a practice that was known and accepted long before the diesel scandal. But it looks like some manufacturers exploited this regulation leeway to the max. The upcoming proceedings will show to what extent this behaviour is actionable.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Small consolation

The process is all very well and good, but eleven million people will be left out in the rain, Der Standard criticises:

“Even if more of the culprits in the diesel scandal are put on trial and the odd one ends up behind bars, it won't give the cheated diesel car owners more than a brief sense of satisfaction. They're the ones who have the consequences of the irresponsible behaviour standing in their garages and who - unlike customers in the US - didn't receive compensation but have been fobbed off with a cheap software update. Here, the politicians in Berlin, in Lower Saxony - and in Vienna too have failed. They fear job losses at the car giants more than they fear the eleven million aggrieved diesel car drivers. And they couldn't care less about public health and the environment.”