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Disgraced Volkswagen CEO Could Leave Company With $67 Million

A job well done? On Wednesday, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned after it was revealed that Volkswagen had been engaging in a large scale program to cheat on pollution emissions tests.

The discovery led to a recall order for 11 million cars and triggered investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice. Volkswagen’s stock fell hard as investors feared the company would lose its key demographic of environmentally conscious customers and face heavy fines and sanctions. Not an unwarranted fear.

Prior to his announced resignation, Winterkorn spoke on camera and confirmed an EPA accusation that the company had cheated on the emissions tests and said, “We screwed up.” Though saying you “screwed up” implies a mistake rather than a premeditated crime such as designing and using software to cheat on a pollution emissions test.

So what will be the penalty for Winterkorn for “screwing up”? According to The Consumerist, Winterkorn could walk away from the company he drove into the ditch with a $67 million payday.

The $67 million figure comes from combining the $33 million Winterkorn already has in his pension as of 2014 with $34 million that Winterkorn could receive under Volkswagen’s current severance payout rule. He also gets a company car. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

The catch for Winterkorn is that the Volkswagen board of directors would have to approve the payout. Normally corporate boards are happy to screw their shareholders and give lackluster and dishonest executives lavish paydays. But with all the scrutiny, Winterkorn may have to suffer the indignity of being slightly less super rich.

Judge's Gavel and Sound Block created and folded by Glenn Sapaden out of two dollar bills (Glenn Sapaden on Flickr)
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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.