Sunday 4 December 2016

Norway's $850bn wealth fund to sue Volkswagen over emissions scandal

Published 16/05/2016 | 09:18

Volkswagen said it will take a €16.2bn hit in its 2015 accounts related to the
diesel-emissions scandal identified last year. Photo: AP
Volkswagen said it will take a €16.2bn hit in its 2015 accounts related to the diesel-emissions scandal identified last year. Photo: AP

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, said on Sunday it plans to join the class-action lawsuits filed against Volkswagen over the German automaker's emissions scandal.

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"Norges Bank Investment Management intends to join a legal action against Volkswagen arising out of that the company provided incorrect emissions data," Marthe Skaar, the fund's spokeswoman, said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Read more: Volkswagen chief executive apologises to Barack Obama over emissions scandal

"We have been advised by our lawyers that the company's conduct gives rise to legal claims under German law. As an investor, it is our responsibility to safeguard the fund's holding in Volkswagen," Skaar added.

The legal action would take place in Germany, a separate fund spokesman told Reuters, declining to give details as to when it would happen.

The Financial Times on Sunday first reported the sovereign fund's plan to sue Volkswagen.

Read more: Volkswagen to take €16.2bn emissions hit

The $850 billion oil fund is expected in the coming weeks to join the class-action lawsuits filed against Volkswagen in German courts in the coming weeks, the newspaper said. (bit.ly/1TccjaL)

Volkswagen, which admitted last year that it had used sophisticated secret software in its cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests, was unavailable for comment outside regular business hours.

Norway's wealth fund said last year that Volkswagen's actions had contributed to a loss of 4.9 billion crowns in the fund's second quarter.The carmaker reached a nearly $10 billion deal with the U.S. government last month to buy back or fix about a half million of its diesel cars and set up environmental and consumer compensation funds.

Norway's wealth fund also recently turned up the heat on U.S. oil companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron to do more to report on the risks of climate change.

The fund, itself built from Norway's oil and gas wealth, had also made similar demands of oil firms worldwide.

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