BRAUNSCHWEIG (dpa-AFX) - The criminal trial against ex-Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn over the diesel affair will last more than a year, according to current plans by the Braunschweig Regional Court. On Thursday, the court published more than 80 dates until September 2025 for the trial starting on September 3. The proceedings against Winterkorn, who will be 77 years old at the planned start, will deal with allegations of fraud, false statements and market manipulation.

The Economic Criminal Chamber has scheduled six to eight hearings per month in the large jury courtroom. In February, it was announced via the court that a new medical report assumes that Winterkorn will be fit to stand trial from September 2024. In 2021, at the start of the first major criminal trial in Braunschweig against ex-VW managers and other engineers, Winterkorn's trial had been severed for health reasons. Winterkorn's absence from the legal proceedings was described by some at the time as a disastrous message.

At the beginning of the year, Winterkorn had rejected criminal responsibility for the emissions manipulations. "I consider these allegations to be unfounded," he said in February as a witness in the billion-euro civil proceedings brought by investors before the Braunschweig Higher Regional Court. His questioning there as a witness is also still ongoing. After four hearings in the spring, it was interrupted due to an operation. It remains to be seen when the hearing will continue.

The diesel affair at Volkswagen came to light in September 2015 and cost Winterkorn his position as head of the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer a few days later. Instead of using more expensive emissions technology, VW had falsified the measured values using hidden software codes. These ensured that the emissions were fully cleaned up in tests, but were many times higher in road use. This resulted in a flood of lawsuits and costs for VW, which the company estimates at around 32 billion euros./bch/DP/jha