BERLIN, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Ex-Volkswagen chief executive officer (CEO) Martin Winterkorn will not comment on his role in the "dieselgate" scandal until his attorneys have been allowed to inspect related files compiled by prosecutors, the German press agency (dpa) reported on Friday.
Earlier reports cited the unnamed source close to Winterkorn saying that Winterkorn was willing to relay his own perspective on emissions cheating allegations at the appropriate point in time. The 70-year-old ex-CEO was monitoring the development of the scandal closely but did not feel a need to repent for his own behavior.
The Braunschweig State Prosecution Office has told press that Winterkorn's legal team may be granted first access to German case files in the summer.
The former automotive executive was recently charged by a U.S. court in Detroit with criminal fraud, as well as conspiracy to breach environmental regulations and deceive regulatory authorities. An U.S. arrest warrant had already been issued against Winterkorn earlier.
The American investigators believe that the ex-Volkswagen CEO was aware of the installation of illicit software in diesel vehicles between May 2015 and July 2015, but decided together with other senior executives to allow the practice to continue. With the charges, Winterkorn could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail.
While the U.S. developments were "registered with interest", Braunschweig attorney general Klaus Ziehe subsequently emphasized that his own investigations would continue unperturbed.
German transport minister Andreas Scheuer Friday urged Winterkorn in the newspaper of Handelsblatt to make more efforts.
"Mr. Winterkorn must make a contribution as well. Every person in a position of responsibility must be aware that an approach which only ever releases small bits of information at a time undermines trust in companies as well as the diesel technology," Scheuer warned.
Winterkorn stepped down from his position at the helm of the Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen Group shortly after the first reports about the "dieselgate" scandal back in September 2015. He has repeatedly stated that he had no knowledge of emissions cheating practices affecting 11 million vehicles.
The ex-CEO is the ninth Volkswagen employee who has been charged with criminal conduct by U.S. authorities in the case. The Braunschweig State Prosecution Office currently lists 49 suspects in the German "dieselgate" investigation.
Meanwhile, several customers affected by the scandal have already taken legal action against Volkswagen or Volkswagen car dealerships. The company's supervisory board is still in the process of assessing whether Winterkorn may owe Volkswagen compensatory payments for financial damage created during his reign.