Prosecutors charge Winterkorn with giving false testimony to German parliament

Former Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn leaves after testifying to a parliamentary committee on the carmaker's emissions scandal in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Berlin prosecutors said on Wednesday they have brought charges against former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn for giving false testimony to the German parliament when he said he was unaware of the carmaker’s diesel scandal before it broke.

“In his testimony, the accused falsely claimed to have been informed of the defeat devices only in September 2015,” said Berlin prosecutors in a statement.

“According to the indictment, he had since May 2015 been aware that the engine control software of some VW vehicles had been equipped with a function to manipulate the exhaust values in testing,” prosecutors added.

A spokesman for Winterkorn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Volkswagen is struggling to draw a line under its biggest ever corporate crisis in which it admitted using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests in the United States.

Top-selling Bild daily first reported the move.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Jan Schwartz and Sabine Siebold, writing by Madeline Chambers, editing by Louise Heavens)