Volkswagen has failed in its attempt to prevent German authorities from investigating how the company’s management handled the Dieselgate scandal.
A three-judge panel in Germany’s constitutional court ruled against VW’s claims that the regional court infringed on its rights during the process of mandating an auditor investigate the company.
A five-page ruling delivered at the end of 2017 by the constitutional court didn’t discuss the relative merits of the case, but said that while Volkswagen’s claim wasn’t inadmissible, it had failed to present a strong enough case for the judges to put a halt to the auditor’s investigation.
The auditor was appointed in November by a regional German court, as shareholder groups sought to establish whether Volkswagen bosses had withheld information that affected stock market prices.
The regional court also ruled that Volkswagen couldn’t appeal its decision, but VW decided to take that decision to a higher court in a last-ditch effort to try and suspend the work of the investigating auditor. VW’s legal argument rested on the fact that it believed the lower court infringed its ‘fundamental rights’ by ruling that it couldn’t appeal the decision.
Volkswagen came under fire from shareholders at its 2017 annual general meeting when it emerged that the company had hired US lawyers and a management consultancy firm to conduct an internal review of what went wrong with Dieselgate, but had declined to release any of the findings.
Investors are trying to establish who in Volkswagen’s management knew what, and when key information was released after its discovery. Under German law, executives are required to announce market-sensitive information as soon as possible.
Volkswagen has previously stated that it acted within German law when revealing information about the Dieselgate emissions scandal, but the subject remains under investigation by German prosecutors.