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Volkswagen's Woes Over Emissions Far From Over

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Volkswagen's Woes Over Emissions Far From Over

Volkswagen is facing new charges that top executives tried to cover up diesel emissions cheating, thwarting its bid to put behind the scandal.

US prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Thursday that accuses former chief executive Martin Winterkorn of participating in a cover-up that extended into the top echelons of the automaker.

"Volkswagen's scheme to cheat its legal requirements went all the way to the top of the company," US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "If you try to deceive the United States, then you will pay a heavy price."

Shares in Volkswagen, a lynchpin of the German economy that employs nearly 650,000 workers, have recovered since plunging in the wake of the scandal, in which Volkswagen admitted it fitted as many as 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with software that could cheat emissions tests.

But the indictment of its former CEO raises new questions about what top managers at the world's largest carmaker knew. Volkswagen's troubles are far from over, according to CNN.

The US allegations challenge claims by Volkswagen that senior executives were unaware of emissions cheating until late summer in 2015. These could bolster legal actions by investors who have accused the company of keeping them in the dark.

"Volkswagen could have a problem in compensating stockholders for their losses -- those cases have become more realistic," said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, founder of the Center of Automotive Research at University of Duisburg-Essen.