This makes Switzerland amongst the first – if not the first – country in the world to file criminal charges against the German car maker whose woes increase with each passing moment.

Swiss owner of VW files criminal complaint and worse is yet to come say lawyers
news VW Controvesy Friday, October 02, 2015 - 13:47

More people are joining the owner of a Volkswagen car who has filed a criminal complaint in a Geneva court for fraud and damage to the environment. “Our client found out that his car was fitted with the controversial software through press reports – this case is going to have very serious consequences for the carmaker,” Guillaume Etiers one of the lawyers representing the aggrieved party told The News Minute (TNM).  “After news about our client became public, we have received enquiries from some 15 other owners of Volkswagen cars,” he added.

This makes Switzerland amongst the first – if not the first – country in the world to file criminal charges against the German car maker whose woes increase with each passing moment.

The Swiss client bought a Tourane (2 litres) in 2014. According to his lawyers, he accuses Volkswagen and concerned persons of fraud, fraudulently obtaining verification of the vehicle, unfair competition, selling a vehicle that was not an approved model and environment damage harmful to human beings. While Swiss laws do not provide for a class action suit, the lawyers are encouraging other car owners affected by the Volkswagen emission scandal to file similar complaints.

“There will be regulatory issues we have to address as well as problems relating to insurance and third party safety. In addition, the re-sale value of these new cars has plummeted,” Etierssaid. Earlier this week, Switzerland’s Federal Roads Office said that some 130,000 diesel engine cars produced between 2009 and 2014 could be circulating on Swiss roads. These include cars in the Euro5 emission category produced by Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen.  Switzerland has also banned the sale of new Volkswagen cars pending further enquiry.  The group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen marques.

The scandal surfaced some two weeks ago when it was established that Volkswagen had falsified data on its vehicles to show the cars were cleaner than they actually are. They achieved this smokes-screen by installing a defeat device that falsely limits nitrogen oxide emissions and returns to unacceptable limits when back on the roads.

Garage owners in Switzerland did not respond to The News Minute’s calls. Neither did Volkswagen. More than any omerta “garage owners in Switzerland were probably unaware of this device,” Etiers said adding that it was too soon to put a figure on the kind of compensation his client was seeking. He also dismissed Volkswagen’s announcements that they will replace the cars as “false candy” to cover up their actions.

A cover up there has been and media reports say Volkswagen was aware of what was going on since 2011.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned earlier this month, but the company is yet to apportion blame on who, or how many people knew about the software.

Experts estimate that the damage to the company could be in the region of $54 billion.

But there is more. In its 78-year history, the people’s car – Volkswagen literally - had acquired mythical status. Unlike the fix-it-again-tony (FIAT) next door in Italy or the gas guzzling cars on the other side of the Atlantic, das auto had a stellar reputation. Germany’s auto industry employs some one million people in a population of 80 million. It remains unclear how many countries will take criminal action against Volkswagen, but its invincible image has taken a very serious beating. 

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