The Wall Street Journal: Volkswagen, ex-CEO Winterkorn face SEC charges of misleading U.S. investors

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it charged Volkswagen AG, two of its units, and former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn with defrauding U.S. bond investors.

In a news release issued late Thursday, the SEC said the German auto maker raised billions of dollars through the corporate bond and fixed-income markets, while making a series of deceptive claims about the environmental impact of the company’s “clean diesel” fleet.

The SEC said it alleges in its complaint that from April 2014 to May 2015 VW issued more than $13 billion in bonds and asset-backed securities in the U.S. markets at a time when senior executives knew that more than 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. grossly exceeded legal vehicle-emissions limits, exposing the company to massive financial and reputational harm.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Volkswagen made false and misleading statements to investors and underwriters about vehicle quality, environmental compliance, and VW’s financial standing, the agency said.

An expanded version of this story can be found at WSJ.com

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