Friday 19 January 2018

Volkswagen investors prepare legal battle over trading losses

Volkswagen cars are seen parked outside a VW dealership in London. Photo: Reuters
Volkswagen cars are seen parked outside a VW dealership in London. Photo: Reuters

Ilona Wissenbach

Dozens of large shareholders in Volkswagen (VW) plan to sue the carmaker in a German court, seeking compensation for the plunge in its shares due to its emissions test cheating scandal.

Law firm Nieding + Barth said yesterday it would lodge a case with a regional court in the Germany city of Brunswick this week, seeking hundreds of millions of euro in damages on behalf of 66 institutional investors from the United States and Britain.

"On top of that, we collected several thousands of private investors. Therefore we think we are the biggest platform for suits against VW in Germany," said Klaus Nieding of Nieding + Barth.

VW's shares have lost almost a third of their value, or about €22bn, since it admitted in September to misleading US regulators about emissions with the help of engine control software.

The law firm plans to use so-called capital market model claims, a German legal procedure which uses court rulings won by individual investors as templates to set damages for others that are equally affected.

VW, which declined to comment, faces a legal onslaught on several fronts.

US car owners are expected to seek billions of dollars in damages, while the US Justice Department has sued VW for up to $46bm under the country's Clean Air Act.

Nieding + Barth said it would argue that VW had been aware of its violation of diesel emissions rules before its first statement on the matter in September.

German markets watchdog Bafin said a probe into whether VW breached disclosure rules was so complex it would likely take several more months. (Reuters)


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