Car Industry

New VW CEO Herbert Diess offered rare safe-passage deal by US

The new head of the VW group will be able to travel freely in the US without fear of being detained for matters related to Dieselgate.

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When Herbert Diess took over as CEO of the Volkswagen Group, he inherited a gigantic pile of problems. Not only was the company struggling to rebuild itself and repair its image after the seismic Dieselgate scandal, but with executives getting indicted on a nearly weekly basis, just doing his job was a challenge. Now though, Bloomberg reports on Monday, things are a bit easier thanks to a rare deal with the US government.

Volkswagen is a massive company with factories all over the world, including in America. Part of Diess' job as CEO is to visit these factories, attend auto shows and generally be the face of the beleaguered automaker. For many of the executives that have been handed indictments, visiting the US would mean a trip to the ol' gray bar hotel, and though Diess hasn't been implicated in Dieselgate, he believed there was a risk for him as well.

Volkswagen has declined to comment on this matter.

VW CEO Herbert Diess negotiated a safe-passage deal with the US government that would allow him free travel and advance notice of potential indictments against him.

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Thankfully for him, he was able to work out a deal with the Justice Department that would provide him safe passage into and out of the US, despite not having been charged here. He is, however, under investigation in his native Germany over possible market manipulation stemming from his involvement in a meeting that occurred shortly after his hiring at VW, during which ex-VW CEO Martin Winterkorn opted to continue concealing diesel emissions violations.

Part of Diess' deal includes him being told in advance if any charges are to be filed against him, according to Bloomberg. This is... unusual, considering that he's an obvious flight risk should he be charged and Germany doesn't extradite its citizens to countries outside the European Union.

The Justice Department has not immediately responded to request for comment.

So far, eight current and former Volkswagen executives have been charged in the Dieselgate investigation, two of which have gone to court. In one of the more bone-headed moves by someone with a warrant out for their arrest, Oliver Schmidt opted to vacation in Florida last year, where he was arrested, tried and sentenced to seven years in prison.