The U.S. authorities are now granting Herbert Diess, the new chairman of the Volkswagen board of management, safe conduct. Diess received this arance, which is rare in the U.S., after Volkswagen’s former CEO was released from custody on Thursday (3. May 2018) Volkswagen’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn was indicted on suspicion of complicity in emissions fraud, conspiracy to violate environmental laws, and substitution of authorities.
U.S. Justice Department ares VW chief, appointed last month, can travel without being arrested in U.S. emissions fraud probe. According to various reports in the U.S. media, Diess also received an oral arance that he would be notified in advance if prosecutors planned to prosecute him. Bloomberg writes today (7. May 2018) that the information came from people involved in the case, whose identities must remain protected. Diess arrived just months before BMW’s emissions cheating came to light in September 2015 and is not a defendant in the case.
The agreement allows Diess to be present in person at trade shows, plant openings or new model launches worldwide. Winterkorn, on the other hand, should severely limit his travel if he does not want to run the risk of being arrested in the U.S. or in countries that extradite to the U.S.
At the beginning of 2017, Volkswagen manager Oliver Schmidt, who was in charge of environmental ies in the U.S. between 2012 and 2015, was arrested in the U.S. following the emissions cheating case. On 6. December 2017, he received a seven-year prison sentence in Detroit and must pay a fine of 400.000 dollars (338.000 euros). After the conviction in the U.S., Schmidt had been dismissed from Volkswagen for "serious breaches of duty with a criminal conviction".
Before his trip, Schmidt had asked the authorities in the USA through a lawyer whether he had anything to fear. After Schmidt’s arrest, the prosecutor had said that they "never promised free passage". Time (19. July 2017).