American criminal lawyers are in demand at Volkswagen. Bloomberg has learned from sources that various executives at the company are hiring lawyers as the Department of Justice begins sending out officials to Germany for meetings to gather evidence for possible criminal charges.
Volkswagen has already agreed to a $16 billion settlement over the diesel emission scandal. But the Department of Justice is continuing their investigation into whether various Volkswagen executives knew about the cheating software installed on over 10 million diesel vehicles around the world. As we reported back in September, a Volkswagen engineer has pled guilty for being involved in the scandal.
Volkswagen has long maintained that none of its executives knew about the software and that it was a rogue group of engineers that went forward with this decision. But as we have been reporting for the past year, various documents and emails that have been leaked out put serious doubts into this claim.
It is unknown if this investigation involves former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn who stepped down shortly after the scandal broke.
If the Department of Justice was to bring Volkswagen executives to court, they could be facing some roadblocks. Germany's constitution doesn’t allow citizens to be extradited outside the European Union. A source tells Bloomberg the Department of Justice is looking into possible ways to bring them to the U.S.