Latest salvo in ‘Dieselgate’ has VW facing €8bn damages claims at home

A German court in the car maker's home region has received 1,400 lawsuits this week as investors claim the company failed to inform them fast enough about its emissions cheating.
Volkswagen has so far set aside about US$18 billion to cover the cost of vehicle refits and a settlement with US authorities. Patrick Pleul / AFP / dpa
Volkswagen has so far set aside about US$18 billion to cover the cost of vehicle refits and a settlement with US authorities. Patrick Pleul / AFP / dpa

Volkswagen faces €8.2 billion (Dh33.58bn) in damages claims from investors over its emissions scandal in the legal district where the car maker is based, a German court said on Wednesday.

About 1,400 lawsuits have been lodged at the regional court in Braunschweig near VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters, the court said.

The Braunschweig court said it received some 750 lawsuits on Monday alone, which marked the first business day after the anniversary of VW’s diesel emissions test-rigging scandal.

It said it brought in extra staff to process suits submitted by shareholders concerned September 18 – the day VW’s manipulations were disclosed a year ago – could be the deadline to file.

Plaintiffs say the German car maker did not inform shareholders quickly enough over its cheating software, which was installed in up to about 11 million vehicles wordwide.

VW, which faces lawsuits and investigations across the world over what has been dubbed “Dieselgate”, has consistently said it did not break capital markets regulations in the disclosure of its cheating.

The biggest claim at the Braunschweig court, totalling €3.3bn, was filed by the lawyer Andreas Tulip on behalf of institutional investors about half a year ago.

The court detailed additional complaints on Wednesday, saying they included a filing by institutional investors for €30 million in damages, two investor groups demanding €1.5bn and €550m respectively and an investment company that sued the carmaker for €45m.

It would take about four weeks to fully process the additional claims, the court said.

Complaints have also been filed by German state pension funds.

VW has so far set aside about US$18bn to cover the cost of vehicle refits and a settlement with US authorities, but analysts think the bill could rise much further as a result of lawsuits and regulatory penalties.

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Published: September 21, 2016 04:00 AM

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