Qatar's wealth fund loses billions from Volkswagen scandal: report

The dramatic scandal behind Volkswagen’s emissions cover-up - and the subsequent collapse in the German car giant’s share prices – have wiped a colossal $5 bln off Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, UK paper The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

The oil-rich Gulf state’s investment arm Qatar Holding, which owns 17 percent of Volkswagen, is the third-largest shareholder in the crisis-hit carmaker. Qatar Holding is further suffering over additional losses from other stakes in its portfolio, according to the Telegraph.

The Volkswagen scandal has wiped over $22 bln off the firms value, led to the resignation of its chief executive, and could result in billions of dollars in fines.

The crisis has led to environmentally-conscious Switzerland on Saturday temporarily banning the sale of Volkswagen diesel-engine models.

Spiralling crisis

And to make matters worse for Volkswagen, several of its executives will likely face criminal charges and extradition to the U.S, according to a U.S. expert.

“If there is sufficient evidence… the company and any individuals involved could face criminal charges under the Clean Air Act, and for conspiracy, fraud and false statements,” said David M. Uhlmann, a former chief of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section who is now a law professor at the University of Michigan. Criminal charges were “almost certain,” he told the Associated Press.

But Uhlmann cautioned that hauling the executives involved into a U.S. courtroom could be challenging because much of the conduct at issue probably occurred overseas. While the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Germany, European regulators are also now investigating and could claim first dibs on prosecuting company officials.

German authorities has given scandal-hit Volkswagen an October 7 deadline to set out a timeline for bringing all its diesel cars in line with national pollution guidelines, a newspaper said Sunday.

The federal motor vehicle office (KBA) told VW to set out “binding measures and a timetable” by the deadline showing how it will meet emissions standards without resorting to software that rigs test results, Bild am Sonntag reported.

If Volkswagen fails to meet the deadline, the KBA warned in a two-page letter, the authority could withdraw approval for the affected models, meaning they could no longer be sold or even moved on German roads.

(With AP and AFP)

Last Update: Sunday, 27 September 2015 KSA 21:26 - GMT 18:26