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US prosecutors charge former VW chief Winterkorn

The executive is accused of conspiracy to defraud the US and violations of the Clean Air Act.

US prosecutors have reportedly filed charges against former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn over his alleged role in the diesel emissions scandal.

An indictment filed in federal court in March and unsealed this week lists Winterkorn among several former executives hit with charges of violating the clean air act and conspiracy to defraud the US.

"The indictment unsealed today alleges that Volkswagen's scheme to cheat its legal requirements went all the way to the top of the company," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "These are serious allegations, and we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law."

Winterkorn was among the first wave of executives ousted by VW Group as the emissions cheating debacle came to light late in 2015.

German authorities are unlikely to arrest and extradite Winterkorn. It is unclear, however, if German prosecutors are pursuing a parallel investigation that could lead to charges in the disgraced executive's home country.