SEC charges VW, former CEO with defrauding US investors

The Trump administration charged Volkswagen AG with defrauding U.S. investors, the latest fallout from an emissions scandal that has plagued the German carmaker for years.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday said Volkswagen and former CEO Martin Winterkorn issued over $13 billion in securities, despite knowledge among executives that the firm was illegally circumventing federal emissions laws.

The company made false and misleading comments to shareholders about “vehicle quality, environmental compliance” and its financial standing, according to the agency.

"Issuers availing themselves of American capital markets must provide investors with accurate and complete information," said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of SEC’s enforcement division. "As we allege, Volkswagen hid its decade-long emissions scheme while it was selling billions of dollars of its bonds to investors at inflated prices."

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The Justice Department previously sued Volkswagen over the activity, which affected over 500,000 cars. The company has paid over $20 billion in fines. And while Winterkorn and others pleaded guilty to several charges, he has maintained he did nothing wrong in the incident.

A Volkswagen spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox Business' request for comment.

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The SEC is seeking to bar Winterkorn from holding an executive position at another public company.