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Volkswagen Walks Back Pledge to Release Jones Day Report

May 10, 2017 0 Comments

After their emissions scandal came to light in 2015, Volkswagen pledged to “come clean” and share information in the report from the external investigation conducted by the Jones Day law firm.

On Wednesday, however, Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch praised the probe as “one of the most comprehensive in German corporate history,” but declined to publish the full report. He announced this decision to 3,000 shareholders at the annual general meeting, citing risks of heavy fines and more potential lawsuits against the company.

In his statement to the shareholders, Poetsch acknowledges the desire for transparency from the company, but stands firm on the decision: “To be clear: there is no written final report from Jones Day, nor will there be. I ask for your understanding that for legal reasons Volkswagen is prevented from publishing any such report.”

Investors were not happy with the news, and continued to demand the report be released to the public. Investment advisory firm Hermes EOS claims the release of the report and its findings would help Volkswagen move on from their scandal. The representative from Hermes, Hans-Christoph Hirt, said “the statement of facts is no replacement for a full report,” and that the lack of the report lowers confidence in the company.

Christian Strenger, a shareholder rights advocate as well as a supervisory board member at DWS Deutsche Asset Management, says that Volkswagen should “put all their cards on the table,” and that the mere statement of facts is “completely insufficient and almost insulting to all those who are interested in complete clarification of responsibilities” (Automotive News)

CEO Matthias Mueller said the company supports Larry Thompson, the former U.S. deputy attorney general who was chosen to oversee the company for a probation period of three years. According to Automotive News, Thompson and his team will have access to company documents and will “assess the efforts of its board of management and senior management to comply with environmental laws.”

The total amount Volkswagen agreed to pay to the U.S. comes out at $25 billion, which will address claims from owners, environmental regulations, and buy back some 500,000 vehicles.

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