Former Volkswagen Engine Boss Taken Into Custody Over Dieselgate – Forbes
German prosecutors yesterday took former Volkswagen Group powertrain development director Wolfgang Hatz into custody in Munich over the Dieselgate fraud scandal.
He is the highest-ranking Volkswagen executive taken into custody by either Germany or U.S. prosecutors.
Hatz, 58, was provisionally cleared by Volkswagen’s internal Jones Day-lead investigation into the $24 billion diesel-emission cheat and was not a person of interest to the U.S. Department of Justice, but was detained after recent German police searches of offices and private houses.
Hatz is only the second Volkswagen employee to be arrested in Germany over Dieselgate, following the July arrest of 60-year-old Italian Giovanni Pamio, who was fired last year from his role as head of Thermodynamics in Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department.
Pamio, with whom Hatz was close and worked with an Fiat before they both joined Audi, was suddenly thrust into the Dieselgate spotlight after a wrongful dismissal lawsuit by Audi’s former head of diesel engine development, Ulrich Weiss.
Weiss, who was suspended over Dieselgate and then sacked, gave testimony at the preliminary hearings for the ongoing lawsuit that implicated Pamio and was the catalyst for the Hatz to be taken into custody. (It is German policy not to allow its citizens to be extradited, though that policy does not cover Pamio, who is an Italian citizen.)
While Pamio faced a DOJ arrest warrant and is in custody in Munich awaiting both German charges and an extradition hearing, Hatz is not one of the six other former Volkswagen Group employees with outstanding US warrants.