Six Volkswagen executives have been charged with fraud, after they were accused of “deliberately misleading” authorities and customers in the months leading up to the diesel emissions scandal in 2015 by failing to tell authorities about cheating devices.
The 876-page document does not name the people accused, but says three of them “knowingly and willingly participated in the development, refinement and improvement of manipulation software”. Similar charges were brought against former chief executive of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn and four other managers at the company.
Public prosecutors in Braunschweig, just a stone’s throw away from Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters, said 9m cars were illegally registered for road use in the years running up to Dieselgate going public.
German cars were also wrongly counted out of road tax, they added, with investigations continuing into 32 other people.
It comes after tens of thousands of motorists accused Volkswagen of fitting its cars with software to cheat emissions tests in the High Court last month.
British drivers who bought Volkswagen diesel vehicles are seeking compensation following the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
In September 2015 the German car making giant said that 11m cars worldwide, including almost 1.2m in the UK, were affected.
The company agreed to pay up to $25bn in the US to settle claims and has offered to buy back 500,000 vehicles in the country, however it has not reached a deal in Europe and has offered a software update.