US supervisor Larry Thompson has finished his exams at Volkswagen and, according to corporate management, issued the automaker with a good certificate for the processing of exhaust gas fraud. “He has now also brought the criminal law to a conclusion,” said Hiltrud Werner, legal director of the dpa in Hanover.
The monitoring, which lasted at least three years, was carried out by the ex-Vice Attorney General of the USA, Larry Thompson, and was a requirement of the US judiciary. Now he has “confirmed that Volkswagen has become a different and a better company – and that we have complied with the obligations from our agreements with the US authorities”.
“A milestone, not the end”
Thompson had been observing for around three years whether Volkswagen was implementing the promised reforms after admitting guilt to the US government and punishing possible misconduct by employees more consistently. In the case of civil law issues, the lawyer drew a conclusion on the “probation period” in July, and a final assessment of criminal law issues followed. In the meantime, he had seen room for improvement in some points.
Werner emphasized that the optimization of internal compliance and whistleblower systems would continue regardless. “Achieving the certificate he gave us is a milestone, but not the end,” she said. “We will continue to work in the same way.”
After the software manipulation in the USA was exposed, the management in Wolfsburg admitted to having cheated on the exhaust technology of diesel vehicles. In total, Volkswagen had to book around 32 billion euros in costs to date, the majority of them in North America. Thompson had been assigned to the group as a “watchdog” to check the improvements agreed in the billion-dollar civil law settlements and to ensure that such fraud does not repeat itself.
Only a few days ago the charge of exhaust gas fraud against the former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn, who was then responsible and therefore suspected in the matter, had been approved.