German authorities investigate Winterkorn

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is potentially walking away from the embattled automaker with a $32-million pension, but his retirement might not be quite so relaxed because German prosecutors in the city of Braunschweig (also called Brunswick) are now investigating his role in VW's diesel emissions evasion. The lawyers want to know whether he committed fraud, and a conviction could mean up to 10 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

However, this process is still in its earliest stages, and Winterkorn is long way from sitting in a courtroom. With other high-profile corporate cases in Germany as a guide, a trial could be years away. Lawyers haven't even questioned the former CEO, yet.

In Germany, people are free to file criminal complaints, and prosecutors then decide whether a full investigation is necessary. According to the AP, Braunschweig has received about 12 grievances so far, including one from Volkswagen. The law in the country also doesn't allow charging businesses with wrongdoing, only people.

Winterkorn resigned from his role at the top of VW last week, just a day after issuing a video apology for the automaker's actions. Former Porsche boss Matthias Müller has succeeded him. Along with having a new person in charge, the automaker's Supervisory Board instituted a thorough corporate reshuffle to put more focus on various regions and give brands additional power by early next year.

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