News World Volkswagen boss: $45m golden handshake

Volkswagen boss: $45m golden handshake

Mr Winterkorn accepted his “responsibility for the irregularities" found in the diesel engines.
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Outgoing Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, embroiled in a diesel-emissions scandal, could potentially be handed $45 million as a parting gift from the company.

Mr Winterkorn resigned this week over a pollution cheating scandal that sparked a US criminal investigation and worldwide legal action.

According to Bloomberg Business, Volkswagen spokesman Claus-Peter Tiemann declined to reveal how much money a departing chief executive would be entitled to, but a recent annual report showed how much Mr Winterkorn could potentially collect.

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The document showed Mr Winterkorn’s pension had a value of 28.6 million euros ($A45 million) at the end of 2014, which did not describe any conditions that would lead the company to withhold it.

“Under certain circumstances”, the report went on to say, he could also collect severance equal to two years of “remuneration.”

The severance package kicks in if the supervisory board terminates his contract early, there’s a caveat, Bloomberg Business reported.

The report said if the board ended his employment for a reason where he was responsible, severance was forfeited.

A day after Mr Winterkorn had offered his “deepest apologies”, the 68-year-old said he accepted his “responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines”.

The German car maker admitted this week that an estimated 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide were engineered to covertly emit more pollutants when driving on the road.

Software was installed in the affected diesel vehicles to reduce the output of nitrogen oxide (NOx) when the cars were being tested.

When on the road, the software switched mode, causing the vehicles to emit up to 40 times more NOx, the US environmental agency claimed.

After news of Mr Winterkorn’s resignation, Volkswagen revealed it had enlisted law firm Kirkland & Ellis, the same firm who defended oil giant BP following the calamitous 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

with AAP

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