The liability in question concerns the incorrect, incomplete and misleading information provided by Volkswagen about meeting all environmental requirements in the United States and elsewhere, while the company knew that certain software had been developed and installed to evade the requirements of this environmental legislation. This manipulation kept the Volkswagen share price artificially high.
In doing so Volkswagen acted unlawfully; not only towards car owners but also its own shareholders. In less than two trading days the Volkswagen share lost more than 35% of its value after this wrongdoing became known.
Manipulation of environmental tests
On Friday 18 September 2015 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a press release announcing that since 2009 Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and the Volkswagen Group of America Inc. had produced and sold diesel cars with software installed that could be used to manipulate certain environmental tests.
The German company could face a fine of up to 18 billion dollars as a result.
Share price collapsed
On 21 September 2015, the first day of trading after the EPA announcement was made public, the Volkswagen AG share lost 20% of its value on the German stock market in Frankfurt. The share price plummeted by a further 22% the next day, ultimately reaching a two-day cumulative loss of 35% in value for shareholders.
Volkswagen shareholders have suffered losses because the company deliberately infringed the relevant legislation in the United States and failed to inform investors of this.
On the contrary, Volkswagen wrongfully claimed that it produces extremely environmentally-friendly cars thereby creating the impression that it could gain a larger market share and thus more turnover. Volkswagen thereby misled investors buying or holding its shares.
If Volkswagen had adequately informed public investors, they would not have bought or held the shares, or would have bought them at a lower price.
The VEB has issued this liability claim in order to be able to represent Dutch and European investors who acted through a Dutch bank or broker in a possible lawsuit. This will make the Management Board and the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen aware of the potential investor claim and VEB can begin a class action on behalf of these investors.
VEB has invited Volkswagen to discuss possible compensation for the losses incurred by these investors.
Bought in the Netherlands
In this class action VEB will act for those Volkswagen shareholders who (1) held Volkswagen shares on Friday evening 18 September 2015 after trading hours, (2) bought these Volkswagen shares through an investment account in the Netherlands or through a Dutch bank or broker, and (3) have incurred a loss.