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Germany Postpones ex-VW Boss's 'Dieselgate' Trial

March 24, 2021
The trial was initially slated to start in February but has now been pushed back again, from April to September

A German court on Wednesday postponed former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn's fraud trial over the carmaker's "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal for a second time, once again citing the coronavirus pandemic. 

The trial was initially set to start in February before being pushed back to April 20. The new date now is September 16, the Brunswick district court said. 

"The current situation and the development of the Covid-19 pandemic... make the postponement of the start of the main proceedings to a later date this year seem appropriate," a court spokesman said in a statement. 

Germany decided earlier this week to extend the current restrictions on public life until April 18 to help slow a third wave of infections. 

Winterkorn, 73, and four other ex-Volkswagen colleagues will be in the dock together on charges of organised commercial fraud and serious tax evasion. 

The trial is expected to last until July 2023, the court said. 

The Volkswagen group was plunged into crisis in 2015 when it admitted to installing cheating software in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide to dupe pollution tests. 

The scandal has so far cost the German car giant more than 30 billion euros in fines, legal costs and compensation. 

The first senior executive to go on trial over "dieselgate" was Rupert Stadler, former CEO of VW subsidiary Audi, whose fraud proceedings opened in Munich last year. 

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2021

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