The Trial Into Investor Lawsuit Against Volkswagen Begins


In Germany, a €9bn investor lawsuit against Volkswagen because of the diesel emissions scandal has been started, however, a judge has said that not all of the 1,670 claims will be considered.

The shares in the German car manufacturer steadily increased throughout the morning as the trial, started at the Braunschweig higher regional court. It is anticipated to last at least until the end of the month,

The shareholders are seeking compensation that amounts to a total of €9.2bn (£8.2bn) over the diesel emissions scandal. The said scandal broke in September 2015.

The trial would likely act as a test case for an additional 1,600 pending claims against the firm in a number of different courts.

The shareholders say that VW should have informed investors regarding the rigged emissions tests of the firm before it became public when the US Environmental Protection Agency released a notice of violation.

In the days that followed, the shares of the company lost 37 percent of their value, costing the investors billions.

However, in his opening remarks, Christian Jaede, the presiding judge, said that because of the statute of limitations, not all of the claims would be taken into account.

The judge said that the incidents that ate involved in the claims stretched way back to 2005. He said that the claims before July 2012 may be potentially invalid.

Volkswagen has admitted that it rigged the engine control software in order to pass the emissions tests in the United States in a scandal that has already cost the company €24.7bn in penalties and fines.

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Andreas Tilp, stated: “VW should have told the market that they cheated and generated risk worth billions.”

He added: “We believe that VW should have told the market no later than June 2008 that they could not make the technology that they needed in the United States.”

Jaede delivered another possible blow to the case of the investor when he said that it was not clear whether the decision of the VW– between the period of 2005 and 2007 – to install the software was taken to maintain the investors in the dark.

Tilp said that should the court not accept that VW should have made public its inability to meet the emissions standards of the US legally, then the case against the company would be limited.

Markus Pfueller, the lawyer of  VW, stated: “This case is mainly about whether Volkswagen complied with its disclosure obligations to shareholders and the capital markets.”

He added: “We are convinced that this is the case.”

In a court filing, VW said that since other carmakers had reached a settlement for emissions cheating in the absence of a notice of violation, and since it was in the process of reaching a settlement, it was not required to brief the investors prior to September 2015.

The firm denies breaching the rules on disclosure.