Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch were indicted in Germany Tuesday, prosecutors say, for misleading shareholders by failing to inform them early about the emissions cheating scandal.
The German automaker has paid out more than $30 billion for rigging software on diesel vehicles that would allow them to pass emissions tests in the United States. By not disclosing the scandal, Volkswagen executives improperly influenced the share price in 2015, the charges say.
Former CEO Martin Winkerkorn is also charged in the case, since he knew of the scandal early, German prosecutors said.
Authorities say Volkswagen executives should have released a market statement warning of the impending scandal.
Volkswagen said it "meticulously investigated" the scandal.
"The result is clear: the allegations are groundless," said board member Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, who's responsible for integrity and legal affairs.
If the men go to trial, Werner said Volkswagen is confident the accusations will prove "unfounded."
The automaker's supervisory board has scheduled a meeting to discuss its next steps.