Bentham Ventures B.V. is funding legal action on behalf of shareholders against car manufacturer Volkswagen AG (“Volkswagen”).
On 16 September 2016, Bentham Europe announces the filing of a second complaint in the German courts seeking damages of up to €2 billion on behalf of Volkswagen shareholders who have suffered losses resulting from the car giant’s use of “defeat device” software to cheat emissions tests.
There is real urgency to join the action because it is likely that the German Court will take steps over the next few weeks that will have the effect of meaning that it becomes impossible for shareholders to join the action thereafter. If the German Court refers the matter to the next stage, then any claimants who are not participating by that point will not benefit from the model case proceeding (see FAQs).
A third complaint is to be filed towards the end of February 2017. Any potential claimants who would like to join this action should get in touch as soon as possible. It is likely that there will be no further complaints brought after this time.
The action seeks to establish that shareholders are entitled to compensation for losses caused by Volkswagen’s alleged breaches of the Securities Trading Act 1998 (Germany), arising from the Company’s failure to inform the market over a long period of time about its alleged practice of installing and using “defeat device” software in well in excess of 10 million vehicles it manufactured and sold in the United States (“US”) and other world car markets.
On Friday 18 September 2015, it emerged via US environmental agencies that Volkswagen had allegedly installed “defeat device” software in certain vehicles it manufactured from 2009 (numbering 482,000), the effect of which was to modify (lower) the amount of Nitrous Oxide (NOx) and other pollutants emitted by the vehicles when they were under test or laboratory conditions. Once allowed back “on the road”, it was suggested the vehicles' NOx emissions increased by 30 to 40 times.
Over the weekend of 19 to 20 September 2015, in the midst of brewing global outrage in light of the revelations, senior Volkswagen executives including former Chief Executive, Mr Martin Winterkorn, made public statements in which they admitted that the Company has used defeat devices and expressed their profound apologies.
On Monday 21 September 2015, the market reacted strongly and negatively to what the media was calling the "emissions scandal". The price of Volkswagen securities on German exchanges fell by approximately 17% that day – and 18% the next – in the process wiping some €25 billion of Volkswagen’s market capitalisation.
In the subsequent days yet more information came into the market in regards to the "emissions scandal", including the fact that the scandal was not confined to the US, as the Company had installed a further 11 million defeat devices in vehicles sold worldwide.
The shareholder action, which has been filed in Germany, claims that Volkswagen failed to inform the market of the use of defeat devices for at least five years, and possibly longer, and that this information constitutes inside information under the relevant German legislative provisions and should have been immediately released to the market.
All current and former shareholders who acquired Volkswagen securities on a German exchange during the period 1 January 2009 to 18 September 2015 inclusive, and who had not sold all of those securities prior to the market opening on Monday 21 September 2015, are eligible to participate in the proposed legal action.
If you wish to discuss the proposed action further, please call +44 (0) 203 7501 303 or click on the link below.
Please note that in order to receive documents relating to the proposed case, you will be asked to enter a Confidentiality Agreement before receiving further claim information other than the Claim Overview and Frequently Asked Questions