Diesel scandal: lawsuit against Winterkorn settlement fails

um Martin Winterkorn, once the most powerful car manager in the republic at Volkswagen, things have recently become quiet. The ailing 75-year-old manager is still waiting for a possible criminal trial, while former board members and top engineers from Volkswagen and Audi face the allegations of exhaust gas fraud in Braunschweig and Munich.

The name Winterkorn was very present for the public, but especially for the shareholders of VW, in early summer 2021. At that time, the group, its former top executives and the manager liability insurers agreed diesel scandal on a comparison: The former CEO Winterkorn pays 11.2 million euros in damages, other managers also participated in the compensation. VW will receive 270 million euros from the D&O insurers – this is what the resolutions of the 2021 Annual General Meeting envisage.

This project is valid for the time being. Because: On Wednesday, the district court in Hanover rejected an action for rescission or annulment brought by the Protection Association of Capital Investors (SdK), which was aimed at the failure of the comparison. The investor protectors filed their lawsuit in August 2021 and argued that the exhaust gas fraud had not been finally determined and further financial risks for the automotive group could not be ruled out. In particular, further sanctions by US authorities for the group and its former bodies are possible – “nevertheless, the claims for compensation should already be finally settled,” according to the SdK’s accusation before the regional court.

However, according to the 3rd chamber for commercial matters, the resolutions are neither void nor contestable. The judges could not identify any formal errors in the decision-making process at the shareholders’ meeting. A “general content control or content abuse control” of resolutions does not take place in the context of an action for nullity and rescission, according to a statement by the regional court.

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