The Securities and Exchange Commission declared in a court that Volkswagen "perpetrated massive fraud" and repeatedly lied to US investors in connection with the so-called dieselgate scandal.
The SEC said in its complaint filed in San Francisco that from April 2014 to May 2015, Volkswagen issued more than $ 13 billion in bonds and asset-backed securities in US markets at a time when senior executives knew that over 500,000 US diesel vehicles far exceeded the emissions limits of legal vehicles.
"Hiding the emissions pattern, Volkswagen raised hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits from issuing securities at more attractive rates for the company," the SEC said in a summary of its deposit.
Volkswagen has stated that the SEC's complaint "is legally and in fact defective". Reuters reported that a Winterkorn lawyer could not be immediately reached on Friday
. In its annual report, VW stated that the SEC could take a legal action against the company for the involvement of the German car industry in the emissions scandal.
the automaker said that the agency is "accumulating" and that the agency's complaint is worthless.
The SEC has asked Volkswagen for information about potential breaches of the securities law on certain investments that the company may have sold to investors. The agency is looking for evidence to determine if the automaker has not disclosed information on vehicles that do not meet US emission standards when it has issued some securities to investors.
The SEC may issue fines and other civil penalties for violations of the Securities Act.
One of the largest car manufacturers in the world, Volkswagen was shaken by reports that first emerged in 2015 and were discovered cheating in US emission tests. The subsequent scandal cost Volkswagen billions of dollars to settle and forced car manufacturers to recall millions of vehicles.
Here is the complete statement from Volkswagen to CNBC:
The SEC's complaint is legally and in fact defective, and Volkswagen will vigorously contest it. The SEC filed an unprecedented complaint about securities sold only to sophisticated investors who were not harmed and received all interest and principal payments in a complete and timely manner. The SEC does not charge any liability to the persons involved in the issuance of the obligations that the Volkswagen diesel vehicles do not comply with the US emission regulations when these securities have been sold, but merely repeat unsubstantiated claims on the former CEO of Volkswagen AG, which did not participate in sales. Unfortunately, more than two years after Volkswagen entered the United States, with the Justice Department, almost all states and nearly 600,000 consumers, the SEC is piling up to try to extract more from the company. 19659013] – Reuters contributed to this report.