German prosecutors have brought criminal charges of stock market manipulation against Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess, former CEO Martin Winterkorn and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch in connection with the carmaker's emissions cheating scandal.
The accused intentionally failed to inform investors in time about the financial impact of the scandal, the prosecutors' office in the northern city of Braunschweig said on Tuesday.
Court proceedings are underway over the company's admission in 2015 to using illegal engine control software to rig diesel emissions tests. The Braunschweig prosecutors' indictment is part of a separate legal push to try managers over allegations they delayed disclosing the scandal to investors.
Diess' lawyer said in a statement that the CEO could not have foreseen the financial market fallout and that he would continue unhindered in his role as CEO.
Winterkorn resigned in the days after the scandal broke. He told German lawmakers in early 2017 that he did not find out about the cheating any earlier than VW had officially admitted.
VW shares lost up to 37 percent in value in the days after the scandal broke.
Had investors known about VW's cheating, they might have sold shares earlier or not made purchases, plaintiffs have argued.